What To Do When Your Electric Car’s on Fire

Date:15 April 2019 Author: Brendon Petersen Tags:, , ,

The rise of electric vehicles has already revolutionized the auto sector and set the stage for an infrastructural sea change as car chargers pop up around the U.S. Here’s another industry that will be deeply affected by electric vehicles: firefighting.

America’s firefighters are already adapting to the challenges of climate change and crumbling infrastructure. Electric cars represent a serious design break from car engines of the past, and their big battery packs represent a fire danger if those packs are punctured during an accident. A few serious fires after electric vehicles accidents have become big news.

Fighting an electric car fire is a new kind of skill that requires a new kind of thinking. Brock Archer covers the topic thoroughly in this helpful video:

With an electric car fire, you need water. That might sound obvious, but in many cases, modern fire departments use foam or dry chemicals that are better than old-fashioned H20 at suppressing fire. While dry chemicals are great at putting down ordinary electrical fires, they may ineffective with a fire stemming from a car’s Lithium-ion battery.

Water is the best approach to a Lithium-ion fire. But that doesn’t mean you should imitate a sprinkler and attempt to dose the whole fire by moving back and forth. Rather, Archers says, you want to keep a direct and focused stream on the battery until it relents. Also, don’t touch the high voltage components or open up the battery. They’re the most likely part of the battery to absorb heat.

While fires are one thing, some electric cars are no match for a portable DVD player.

Originally published on Popular Mechanics

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