For the time being, a fire in an internal combustion engine car is much more likely than a fire in an electric car. As electric cars and charging stations become more common and the electric car fleet ages, the risks may increase.
Electric cars the number is inevitably increasing due to the policies of car manufacturers and decision makers. That means more and more people are charging their cars at home and in parking garages.
Where there is electricity, there is also a risk of fire.
Electric car fires are very rare today. The fires make headlines because the thing is new and putting out battery packs is challenging and requires a lot of water. Rescue services are currently updating their expertise on the fire safety risk posed by the expanding fleet of electric vehicles.
Read more: Accident-Tesla sprayed more than 110,000 liters of water – Rescue services are not prepared for hard-to-extinguish battery packs
Should a resident of a detached house who is considering purchasing an electric car or a person sitting on the board of a housing association who decides to build charging points be afraid of an electric car being charged?
Fears of electric car fires are greater than risks, says the head of the group responsible for electric vehicle charging systems at the Electrotechnical Standardization Organization (Sesko) Vesa Linja-aho.
“The fire in an internal combustion engine car is so common that it is usually not even reported. Approximately 1,300 passenger cars catch fire in Finland every year. In the last few years, a couple of all-electric cars and one rechargeable hybrid have burned in Finland. Electric cars are not in themselves more flammable than internal combustion engines, ”says Linja-aho, who owns a full electric car.
Not in Finland no building fires have started in the electric car. In Sweden, such has caught fire, but even then the reason was my own tuning to the charging socket. A year ago in January, a fire broke out in the parking garage at Stavanger Airport in Norway, eventually destroying almost 300 parked cars. The fire, which started from an old diesel car, also spread to electric and hybrid cars. There was no automatic shutdown system in the hall.
Last week, automaker General Motors announced his call all 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt electric car owners to park their racing games outdoors after charging. In addition, model owners are advised not to charge their car overnight without regular monitoring.
There were two cases in the United States where cars had caught fire after being returned to their owners after extensive recall and maintenance. The model is not for sale in Finland.
According to a study conducted last year by the Norwegian research company Rise Fire Research, charging electric cars in parking garages does not increase the risk of fire. According to the company, fire safety regulations in Norway are also up-to-date with regard to the fire risk at electric car charging points, and charging electric cars does not increase the need for new extinguishing systems.
The report emphasizes that charging points and electrical installations must comply with regulations and recommendations from car manufacturers. The company urges you to avoid using extension cords and plugs that are not intended for charging electric cars.
Also Sesko Linja-aho recommends using a professionally installed charger designed for charging an electric car. The cheapest charger currently costs around 500 euros. The price installed by a professional will be around 1,000–1,500 euros. You will also receive a household deduction for the installation work.
Electric cars cost tens of thousands of euros. Indeed, some dealers may offer a new car buyer a charging point with installations on top of the store.
It is worth examining the condition of the cable route, socket and installation.
According to Sesko’s charging recommendations, a compliant charging cable must be used to charge the electric car. Electricity must not be taken from inside the building, for example through windows or doors.
According to Linja-aho, the least you should do when starting to charge an electric car is to examine the cable route and the condition of the socket and supply installation used for charging. The property owner should also request a certificate of inspection. The charging current for more than two hours must be limited to a sufficiently small level, for example to eight amps. The biggest danger is if you charge an electric car directly from an old outlet overnight without supervision.
“The worst possible example is probably a front man’s house with electrical installations from the 1950s and starting to charge an electric car from an outlet on a wooden wall. The charging current of an electric car is long-lasting and if the car is charged every night, the joints will heat up and cool down repeatedly. That’s when a fire can break out, ”says Linja-aho.
Home insurance is recommended for everyone, but the owner of an electric car should make sure that any construction fire ignited through the car is taken into account in the insurance. Some insurance companies require an inspection of the suitability of electrical installations.
To the car related insurance does not specify whether it is a petrol, diesel or electric car or a charging hybrid. The insurance may state that towing an electric car will not be reimbursed if you run out of battery. However, insurance companies offer towing insurance at an additional cost.
If the car returns as a reindeer, the insurance company will replace it in the same way as an internal combustion engine car. The insurance company may require that the charging socket be inspected by an electrician.
If the fire has started due to deficiencies in the charging station’s equipment, the person responsible for the installation is the installer or the owner of the electrical equipment. The same is true if a fire ignites when the car is heated through a yard box.
For electric cars, there is not yet enough information on how the age of the car affects the risk of fire.
In traffic existing electric cars are fairly new. The line-up emphasizes that internal combustion engines are known to increase the likelihood of a fire, which is the older car. For electric cars, there is not yet enough information on how the age of the car affects the risk of fire.
“Internal combustion engines are more flammable in old age. The oldest electric cars in Finland are only about ten years old, which means that we do not yet have fully comparable statistics, ”says Linja-aho.
Thus, it cannot yet be said that electric cars pose a significant fire risk to buildings. However, builders of charging points must ensure that electrical installations are carried out and inspected in accordance with regulations.
“Condominiums are under professional maintenance and there should be no fire coming from the heating pole, or yard box. No case has been registered in recent years in which a fire has started from a heating pole. ”
Upon request, housing associations are also required to provide a written certificate from the electrical installation company that the suitability of existing installations for charging cars has been verified.
The problem with electric cars is that battery fires are difficult to put out. In rare electric car fires, it is even rarer for the battery to catch fire. Extinguishing a battery fire and cooling the battery after a fire can require up to tens of thousands of gallons of water. The battery may also re-ignite after being turned off.
“Fire safety must be planned as a whole.”
Good The Building Information Foundation (RTS), established to promote the construction method, is preparing guidelines for charging points for electric cars in buildings. The instructions are aimed at designers and property managers. Linja-aho has chaired the working group preparing the guidelines.
The proposal states that in the fire safety of recharging points, special attention must be paid, for example, to clearly marking the existence and location of recharging points for rescue personnel, ensuring adequate water supply for batteries and allowing centralized power supply to recharging points.
The instructions also state that charging points should be located in the parking garage where vehicles can be easily and quickly moved out. In addition, the car park with charging points should have an automatic fire alarm, sprinklers and effective smoke extraction.
However, Linja-aho reminds that already in the 2030s, the majority of cars in both the streets and parking garages will have electric cars, so it is not worth counting too much on the location of charging points.
“Fire safety must be planned as a whole.”