The cases accumulate and generate alarm. Stories of fires that are difficult to put out. What about lithium ion batteries?
The news is not new and is repeated from time to time in the world’s media. Ships that transport electric cars end up on fire due to the explosions in the batteries. Electric trucks catch fire just like some cars. The cases accumulate and attract attention. What is happening?
On July 26, a cargo ship carrying more than 3,500 vehicles went up in flames in the North Sea. The Reuters news agency reported that almost 500 of the vehicles transported on the Freemantle Highway were electric. An emergency call reproduced by the Dutch RTL radio revealed the message of one of the crew who reported that: “the fire started in the battery of an electric car.”
At the beginning of last year another ship caught fire. In this case it was the Felicity Ace that was off the Azores Islands when the fire gained strength. The German insurer Allianz issued a warning in this regard and assured that lithium batteries were a threat to car carriers and container ships.
Among the 4,000 cars transported were several electric Porsches and Volkswagens. However, the investigation was complicated as the ship ended up at the bottom of the sea.
Added to the stories of the ships are those of electric cars and trucks that suddenly catch fire. At this time, Volvo launched a recall to withdraw almost all of its electric trucks from the market. But not only the current ones, but also those created in the last four years due to the risk of a possible fire in your battery. These are 172 company trucks and nine from Mack that were produced between 2019 and the current year.
Why is Volvo making this recall? Due to a fire that generated a battery that was sent to the Virginia plant where Volvo does its packaging. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted an investigation and determined that the fire was within the battery and did not spread. Now Volvo will replace all the batteries that were supplied by the Akasol company, as reported by energyportal.eu.
A few days ago, Nikola experienced a strange episode when one of the trucks that was being repaired after an incident turned on again at the company’s headquarters. The Phoenix Fire Department brought the fire under control, but five trucks were affected by the flames. The case is under investigation.
In February, Ford Motor Co. halted production and shipment of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck. What happened? Your battery caught fire in a quality check.
The National Transportation Safety Board details more cases, such as the fire of an electric bus that occurred in Indianapolis years ago. “The transit bus had been connected to an electrical charger for less than an hour when facility personnel noticed fire and smoke coming from the rear of the bus, near the vehicle’s battery packs. IndyGo personnel quickly moved several buses away from the smoking bus, pulled the fire alarm, and began evacuating the facility. The Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) responded and arrived at 12:02 a.m. Upon arrival, one of the responding fire trucks entered the building in conditions of heavy smoke and limited visibility, and extinguished the fire. the official site of the NTSB.
What about lithium ion batteries?
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) in its analysis, where it studied 240,000 maritime accidents, drew a worrying conclusion: the risk of fire from batteries that are part of electric trucks or cars is very high.
From the German company it was reported that ships, ships or passenger ferries are put at serious risk when transporting this type of battery. The investigation was based on cases that occurred between 2017 and 2022 where fire was the main cause of maritime accidents with a percentage of 18%.
There is one more detail, the firefighters have discovered that putting out a fire caused by this type of battery requires much more water than any other fire and the control of the vehicle for weeks since the fire can start again.
At the moment, both the maritime, automotive and land transport industries are closely watching these cases while world experts analyze how to improve these incidents related to lithium-ion batteries. One of those organizations is the Department of Transportation Safety (NHTSA), which is carrying out an initiative where it studies the safety of these batteries with the idea of “coordinating research and other activities to address safety risks related to batteries in vehicles.” electrical”.