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While this can actually happen, it is very very unlikely.
Batteries are very high energy-dense objects and anything with a high energy density, like gasoline, can burst into flame or even explode.
Maybe you’ve read about a certain smartphone which would spontaneously go into flames and leave burn marks on tabletops or even peoples pockets. It’s was the Galaxy Note 7. This smartphone where experiencing short-circuits which led to the lithium-ion battery pack to go into flames. Batteries for EVs are no different, they could potentially burst into flames if they experience a short-circuit by, for example, a crash.
Luckily EV manufacturers have measures in place, to make sure that this will most likely never happen. But it has happened a few times before, even with Tesla. But this is already many years ago and they have come a long way since. Statistically it is way more likely that your gasoline car will go into flames than an EV, but still it’s important to know that it actually can happen and it has happened before.
One example on how a car manufacturer have solved this issue, is by having a pyrofuse between the motor and battery packs. The battery as a whole in an EV is not one big chunk, it is actually many smaller packs stacked together. In between these packs, pyro fuses has been installed and will actually explode and cut the connection if the car experiences a crash.
It seems a bit counter intuitive to put smaller explosions right beside the lithium-ion batteries which will catch fire very easily. But the batteries are extremely well protected. Even if a smaller pack bursts into flame, the rest are still secure.
By cutting all batteries away from the car’s electrical system, you also eliminate the other potential risk in a EV crash; electrocution. In a crash where the battery and the circuits survive, there is a potential risk that wires will come in contact with the frame of the car. This will lead high voltage power directly in contact with potential passengers.
This was a more frightening article to make, but like with gasoline cars, the manufacturers are eliminating more and more potential risks. I think today EVs are much safer than gasoline cars.
Morten has been working with technology, IoT and electronics for over a decade. His passion for technology is reflected into this blog to give you relevant and correct information.Read more...