Can Electric Car Batteries Explode?

Can Electric Car Batteries Explode

In the last few years, electric car use has skyrocketed worldwide. There are, however, problems associated with electric cars, and many people who are passionate about or have already adopted electric vehicles are speaking out about them and seeking answers. Battery explosions are becoming more common and are a significant safety concern for EVs. Since this issue affects people’s very “lives,” it deserves top priority in finding a solution. So Can Electric Car Batteries Explode?

Li-ion batteries may be self-sufficient for combustion if their 1 kWh storage capacity is wholly released in a few seconds. You may think of the anode, cathode, and separator as the three main components of any battery. That leaves just these three factors as potential causes of an explosion.

As a first step, know that a large amount of energy is only sometimes necessary for an explosion or fire. All that is needed is the shortest possible time for the power to be released.

If the wall between the anode and the cathode, which prevents ion transfer but allows electrons to move freely, becomes broken or damaged, a short circuit will form, resulting in an explosion. The separator in electric vehicle batteries is the most common reason for their explosion.

The separator’s primary function is maintaining ion transport while physically separating anode and cathode materials. But, as technological innovation and consumer preferences have led to increasingly finer separation, separators have become progressively thinner.

Although partitions often have a long lifespan, in certain instances, even a little issue with the battery might cause catastrophic failure. The separator’s vulnerability means it breaks down with the slightest pressure or chemical imbalance. Batteries expand when charging and compress slightly during discharging, putting additional strain on the separator and rendering it ineffective. If the wall fails, the anode and cathode might cause an explosion if a short circuit occurs at the point of contact.

TypeFires (per 100K vehicle)Total Fire

What Causes A Lithium-Ion Battery To Explode

3 reasons why Can Electric Car Batteries Explode?
  • Imperfection in Production

Metallic impurities (particles) may leak into the lithium-ion cell during manufacture if there are any flaws in the manufacturing process. Cleanrooms for making batteries must have precise environmental controls.

It’s also possible that the separators have become too thin, which might have severe consequences in practice. Before being marketed, cells should be validated and subjected to stringent quality control procedures.

  • Misuse or Use Incorrectly

Explosions may occur if the battery is exposed to extreme temperatures, such as when it is kept near a heat source or a fire. If the battery pack is pierced intentionally or by mistake, a short circuit will form, and the battery will catch fire. Thus, the guarantee on electric cars is voided if the battery pack is taken apart in any way without authorization.

Only get the batteries tested and repaired by certified mechanics from the automobile manufacturer. Battery damage may occur from even standard charging voltages or excessive discharge.

  • Low-Grade Hardware

One of the leading reasons for battery failure is the use of low-quality components alongside manufacturing flaws. Battery producers take shortcuts where they shouldn’t keep their costs low in the face of rising competition. Cheap electronics, such as the battery management system, might cause the battery to fail prematurely.

As crucial as batteries are, their performance and security depend on their management system. Simply put, it prevents the battery pack from being used in an unsafe environment. Since batteries are such an essential part of an EV or energy storage system, it’s crucial to have a plan to quickly identify when a cell has failed, preventing an explosion.

Preventing Fires Caused by Lithium Batteries

  • Long-Term Storage Of Fully Charged Batteries Is Not Recommended

Lithium-ion batteries should not be charged to more than 30% capacity before being stored for extended periods to reduce the possibility of a thermal runaway due to damage, manufacturing errors, or internal problems. Because of their high energy density when fully charged, lithium-ion batteries are more likely to produce substantial heat when short-circuiting due to internal flaws occur.

  • It’s a Bad Idea to Utilize Damaged Batteries

Observable damage may indicate more severe problems with internal parts and processes. A battery’s internal components can easily be broken by external forces or by being dropped on a hard surface. Damaged batteries should be disposed of in particular trash cans.

  • Take Care Not To Overcharge

Avoiding overcharging Li-ion batteries is a crucial safety measure to take. The SDS for most lithium-ion battery products will provide instructions for preventing damage to the battery caused by overcharging.

Batteries should be closely monitored when charging, but it is equally essential to prevent completely draining the batteries. Batteries still provide a danger of electric shock even after being wholly drained. Be sure to charge your Li-ion battery using a designed charger, and always pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

For further information on potentially hazardous charging and discharging behaviours, such as maximum current load, mechanical and thermal loads, charging and end-point voltages, and so on, please refer to your SDS’s handling and operating safety guidelines.

RankMakeFatal Crashes
  • Cool And Ventilated

Have your Li-ion batteries been given enough air circulation? Furthermore, ensure enough airflow in the area where battery are kept and charged for maximum safety in the workplace.

Ventilation aids in maintaining a safe temperature for your batteries and may lessen the effect of a battery fire on the personnel in your organization.

In Li-ion batteries, electrolytes, copper, aluminium, lithium, and other components may catch fire. Batteries produce very harmful fumes when they see fire. Rapidly engulfing a structure and compromising the health of its inhabitants and rescuers, these gases are a severe threat. The gas may also catch fire and explode, posing a more significant threat to human life.

Ventilation of battery storage areas is essential in reducing the risk to human health in the case of a fire involving lithium-ion batteries. Any effort to put out a fire caused by a Li-ion storm should be made with the wearer of self-contained breathing equipment.

Can Summer Cause Of The Heat?

Some people think that the inadequate heat management system of the EV battery, along with the increasing temperatures in our cities, is to blame for these blazes. An electric vehicle (EV) with lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, according to the authors, has to reach temperatures of several hundred degrees Celsius before experiencing a “thermal runaway episode” and the subsequent fires it causes.

How much heat does summer have to cause? Extreme heat and improper thermal management may reduce battery performance and limit its useful life, although they do not directly cause fires.

Most current Li-ion batteries have an automatic shutoff set by the manufacturer for temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees Celsius. Even without these safeguards, temperatures cannot rise by more than a few hundred degrees Celsius due to the combination of environmental heat and battery heat.

Again, the reasons for this are as follows: low-quality cells, an inadequate battery design (how, for example, 12 cells are packaged and connected to create a battery with a capacity of 3kWh), and a BMS that fails to properly monitor and control the cells by using appropriate sensing and software intelligence all contribute to the occurrence of short circuits.

The battery’s lifespan and performance may be diminished by high temperatures, but this will not cause an explosion. It takes several hundred degrees Celsius to cause a fire in a lithium-ion battery. Neither the temperature of the surrounding air nor the heat produced by a fully charged battery would be sufficient. First, a short circuit is required for the battery cell to reach the temperature necessary to cause a fire.

What To Do If A Battery Ignites?


If the lithium-ion battery overheats, turn off the power and move the gadget away from potential ignition sources. Never try to put out a fire caused by a lithium battery on your own, and get out of your electric car immediately if one starts. The priority should be your health and safety.

Should you know what to do if batteries explode? Class B fires need a dry chemical fire extinguisher such as an ABC or BC. This notion that lithium-ion batteries contain lithium metal is widespread. They do not, which is why a Class D fire extinguisher isn’t appropriate.

Likewise, there are cutting-edge strategies for extinguishing lithium flames. As a mist, the Aqueous Vermiculite Dispersion (AVD) uses vermiculite that has been chemically exfoliated to put out fires. Nonetheless, it may be necessary to extinguish more extensive lithium-ion fires, such as those seen in EVs or ESS. The use of water combined with copper is efficient yet expensive.

Water is not recommended even for massive lithium-ion fires, according to experts on battery safety. Fires of this kind may consume a building for many days. Therefore protecting it from fuel and preventing it from spreading is essential.

Why Lithium Is So Important?

There are two ends to a lithium-ion battery: the anode (-ve) and the cathode (+ve). These terminals are all at different locations. A separator, a fittingly titled component, fills the gap between them. In an electrical discharge, a motor systematically links the anode and cathode, and then a steady current is extracted from the cells. Cell venting occurs when these cells short-circuit and releases combustible gasses to reduce the likelihood of a thermal runaway.

So, why is lithium so crucial? Yet, the battery packaging design has the most significant impact on safety, even more so than the cells’ quality. The term “battery packaging” describes the method manufacturers use to assemble the cells, unite them electrically, and secure them in a single unit. Overcharging may cause fires in the EV even if it has high-quality batteries in good packaging.

Which of the two lithium-ion battery chemistries, nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) or lithium ferro phosphate (LFP), has a higher maximum voltage? NMC is at 4.2V, while LFP is around 3.6V. An NMC battery will develop dendrites like ice crystals in caves if the user overcharges it by only 0.05V.

An insufficient BMS that lacks the necessary intelligence or sensing to govern cells can result in overcharging. Electric vehicles using lithium-ion batteries are more secure, more fuel-efficient, and less cumbersome than their competitors are.

To What Extent Often Are Fires Caused By The Batteries Of Evs?


Electric vehicles (EVs) and the fires that may result from their batteries have been studied in a number of different ways. Still, it’s crucial to remember that comparing EVs with conventional gas-powered vehicles isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. As electric cars will make up less than 2% of U.S. vehicle sales in 2020, we may expect fewer electric vehicle fires.

In what ways are EV batteries a common source of fires? Electric vehicle fires are best compared on a per-100,000-vehicle-sold basis. Using resources provided by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the National Transportation Safety Board, analysts at the insurance comparison website Car Insurance Easy gathered sales and accident statistics.

The website revealed 3,474.5 fires involving hybrid automobiles for every 100,000 sold. Compared to electric cars, which had 25.1 fires for every 100,000 sold, gas-powered automobiles had 1,529.9 per 100,000.

Since EVs are still innovative and largely unknown to a vast segment of the public, it is easy to imagine that electric vehicle fires are so widespread. Electric vehicle fires get more attention in the media, creating the impression that they are prevalent.

As an added complication, flames involving vehicles on the roadway may be very difficult. When a battery produces more heat than it can disperse, a chain reaction may start inside of it; this is termed a thermal runaway.

Moreover, unlike gas, which typically burns out fast, lithium-ion batteries may burn hotter and much longer. Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries may spread rapidly and need large volumes of water to put out. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an electric vehicle fire in Texas that occurred after a collision drew more than 30,000 gallons of water.

This is a common problem, but only sometimes one that fire departments are prepared to address with the appropriate vehicles and equipment. Firefighters and other first responders require special training to put out oil fires safely since the protocols they should follow vary from those for gasoline blazes.

Notwithstanding the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) recent finding that many manufacturers provide incomplete or insufficient emergency response guide notes on EVs, improvement is inevitable.

Manufacturers, law enforcement agencies, and advocates for product safety will likely revise industry safety standards and response procedures to deal with vehicle fires as electric vehicles acquire a more significant share of the total vehicle market.

Why Do Electric Car Batteries Catch Fire?


There has been an increase in the number of reported fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in electric cars as their popularity has grown. Around 20 cases of Tesla battery fires have been documented, resulting in at least three fatalities.

The costs associated with fires are now covered under Tesla’s warranty, which the company has recognized. Yet as the number of EVs on the road increases, so will the number of people worried about fires, and thus far, no effective measures have been discovered to avoid such fires.

Why do batteries in electric cars catch fire? Nonetheless, the reasons behind these fires may be easily deduced. You may trace their origins to ideas presented by Billy Wu, an associate professor at London’s Imperial College. Some things may set off a thermal runaway, resulting in a fire.

Wu elaborates on the circumstances that lead to thermal runaway, including mechanical, electrical, and thermal battery abuse. Overcharging and under-discharging are destructive maintenance methods that hasten battery degradation and increase the risk of thermal runaway.

What Other Ways Does A Fire Using A Lithium-Ion Battery Vary From A Fire Involving Gasoline?

The difference in ignition time is most notable. Fires caused by gasoline spread swiftly after they have been ignited. It usually takes a while for a battery fire to become hot enough to ignite. Depending on the circumstances, the delay might be considered excellent news.

It may buy time for the people in a crashed automobile to get out of the car before a fire breaks out. However, it may also bring up specific difficulties of its own.

What additional differences exist between a fire caused by a lithium-ion battery and a fire caused by gasoline? A motorist can run over debris and cause damage to the car’s battery without realizing it. A fire may start hours or days after the first occurrence. After parking the automobile inside, there’s a potential risk of a fire starting.

Moreover, Tesla cautions first responders that battery fires may take up to 24 hours to extinguish completely, even when the fire is visible. Fires in electric vehicles need water extinguishment. The obviousness of this statement may be belied by the fact that many fires nowadays are put out using foam or dry chemicals instead of plain old water. Dry chemicals work well to put out regular electrical fires. However, they may not be effective against a fire caused by a car’s Lithium-ion battery.

It is recommended that a Lithium-ion fire be doused with water. But it doesn’t mean you should act like a sprinkler and go back and forth to put out the blaze. If you want to put out a fire involving a battery, you will not just throw water on it; you will need a steady stream that can carry between two and thirty tons of water. Do not open the battery either, since the contents contain high voltage. Most of the battery’s heat will be absorbed by these components.

The electric car’s battery pack is the single most costly part of the vehicle. Our knowledge tells us that improper maintenance may drastically reduce its service life and threaten our safety. Knowing how to use the Battery Management System in an electric automobile helps reduce the likelihood of fire (BMS). It has five uses, the most important of which is protecting an electric vehicle’s battery pack from harm.

Manages how much power is drawn from and put into the battery. As the battery’s characteristics fluctuate over time, this phase is the most dangerous for the battery and must be handled constantly by the BMS.

What Percentage Of The Battery’s Overall Capacity Is Used At Any Time?

Finds out how healthy the battery is. Several significant aspects influence battery health, including the number of charging cycles, the battery charging current, temperature, and more.

What percentage of the whole capacity of the batteries is used at any one time? Controls the charging and discharging of individual battery cells. This process is critical since it determines how long a battery will last. If you want to keep your cells alive and well and not damage them by overcharging them, you must ensure they all charge and discharge at the same rate.

Keeps track of the battery life and reports any problems. The BMS informs the driver of the total mileage covered and the optimal time for recharging the vehicle.

  • Battery Explosions and Fires

When batteries catch fire, it is one of two types. A collision may cause damage and shorten the pack, igniting individual cells. This early issue with Tesla products prompted the company to beef up security on Model S and X cars’ battery packs.

In contrast, media emphasis had focused on fires that seemed to start when cars were parked, even in garages. The Chevrolet Bolt was charged in certain circumstances but not others. In Port St. Lucie, Florida, in October, one such fire severely destroyed a property.

The battery provider, a division of LG Chem, has been identified as the root cause of GM’s issues. The carmaker demands that the South Korean manufacturer pays for a significant portion of the recall’s continuing expenses. The Kona EV was recalled because of production problems with the batteries made by LG Chem.

Although electric vehicle fires are uncommon, experts warn that when a lithium-ion pack does ignite, it may be challenging authorities to put out.

For example, consider one incident the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded. The report states that on July 4, 2021, the Bolt caught fire at a residence in Vienna, Virginia. An hour after firefighters had worked to extinguish the blaze, it had already begun again. After being taken to a Chevrolet dealership, the damaged car started burning again.

  • Thermodynamic Instability

Thermal runaways are a chain reaction that may occur in lithium-ion batteries when the battery’s internal temperature rises over its safe operating range. The extra energy released during this process causes more heating, accelerating the process. Explosions and fires may result from overheated batteries caused by thermal runaways. Batteries may overheat or be permanently destroyed, even in favorable circumstances.

A “cooling system” is a common feature of electric cars. Just lithium-ion batteries need this cooling system. As smartphones and other devices use Lithium-ion batteries of significantly lower capacity than EVs, they do not require additional cooling. Excessive heat may be a concern for smartphone batteries for some reasons, including an overheated CPU, structural damage from bending, and overcharging.

A poorly built battery or physical damage is usually at blame when a smartphone battery explodes or catches fire. While battery technology has advanced, it is still possible for a damaged battery to catch fire.

If you drop your phone into a hard surface, such as a concrete curb, and the chassis bends ever so slightly, the damage may not seem severe on the outside, but on the inside, it might cause a puncture in the battery and set off an explosion. Smartphone owners should keep the battery as is. Causing damage to a Lithium-ion battery by poking or puncturing it is very risky.

Adaptive charging and battery health features are standard on modern smartphones and laptops, but choosing a charger designed for your device is still essential. It’s also not a good idea to charge your phone beneath a pillow or in direct sunlight, and you should keep it away from heat sources like heaters and radiators.

Although practically everyone nowadays has a smartphone, and as the number of people who own electric vehicles is still relatively small, smartphone fires and explosions are uncommon.

Can Charging Electric Vehicles Start a Fire?

Fires may indeed start when charging electric vehicles. To make sense of the current scenario, you need to know how electric automobiles function and why they require charging. The electric motor of an electric vehicle gets its juice from the car’s battery. The battery pack may be recharged through an electrical socket in your house.

Can electric vehicle charging cause a fire? The car’s battery pack can catch fire while being charged if it malfunctions or is damaged. This occurs due to the structure of the battery pack. Several individual cells comprise the battery pack, which is then connected in series to power the vehicle’s electric motor and other electronics. When damaged or malfunctioning, these cells may short-circuit, leading to overheating and eventual combustion.

Owners of electric cars should never leave their vehicles alone while charging, whether at home or abroad (such as at a public charging station).

Why Can Faulty Batteries Cause Fires?

Lithium-ion batteries are the energy source of electric cars. This implies that if an EV catches fire, it may keep going for a long time, unlike a gas car.

Why can fires be started by faulty batteries? While electric vehicle fires are far less common than those involving gasoline-powered vehicles, using lithium-ion battery packs may make these blazes much more challenging to extinguish.

It is famously difficult to maintain a cool temperature in lithium-ion batteries. If the batteries are still charged, they may produce enough heat to reignite the device even after it has seemed to be off for 24 hours.

Even though it’s not their intended function, batteries may catch fire if subjected to excessive heat or overcharged. Since EVs are still relatively new, some fire departments may need to learn how to put out these fires, exacerbating the situation. Since the battery offers a continuous supply of energy and fuel, an EV fire that has been extinguished might flare up again hours later.

In the paper, one specialist suggests automobile owners follow this advice: “Make sure you’ve taken care of all recalls. Be sure there is no rust or corrosion on the car, mainly where the lithium battery is located. Watch for warning signs, such as a battery that won’t hold a charge or drains more quickly than usual.


Manufacturers of battery packs should take a strict stance on safety. Making lithium-ion batteries “smart” may improve their security. By adding a computational layer to battery, we can detect and anticipate improper behavior during use or performance. This will allow us to respond quickly, avert system failure, and guarantee the security of the batteries.


Can Fire Services Put Out Flames Caused By Electric Vehicles?

A metal box houses the automobile’s battery pack. They pose a hazard because of the ease with which they may catch fire from overheating or accidents, making it difficult for fire fighters to reach the blaze and put it out.

Is It Hard To Put Out Fires Started By Electric Vehicles?

Several cells work together to form a battery pack for an EV. When one of these malfunctions, it immediately releases its stored energy, resulting in extreme heat. When hundreds or thousands of cells release their energy simultaneously, the resulting heat becomes intense and challenging.

While Charging An Electric Vehicle, May The Battery Pack Ignite?

All it takes is for the cathode, one of the battery’s internal components, and the anode, another, to come into inappropriate contact and generate enough heat to ignite the flammable solution inside the battery. The entire thing will swiftly catch fire.

Posts Related to Electric Cars and Batteries

  1. Top 10 reasons why Solid-State batteries are better than Lithium-Ion batteries in EV-A complete guide 2024
  2. What Does an Electric Car Battery Look Like?
  3. Tesla Model X 12V Battery Replacement-Complete Guide 2024
  4. Can A Damaged Piece of Electric Car Battery be Repaired?
  5. What happens to old electric car batteries? can they be recycled?
  6. How Long Should a Dead Chevy Bolt Euv Battery be Charged? -An ultimate guide 2024
  7. Does a Lithium-Ion Battery Make Electric Car Expensive?
  8. Chevy Bolt Battery Health After 1 Year After 2 Years After 5 Years
  9. Top 9 Ways To Reduce Charging Time For Electric Car
  10. Tesla Beeping Sound While Parked – (Tesla Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Model S)
  11. Chevy Bolt Battery Degradation
  12. What Percentage Should I Charge A Tesla Battery?

About Author

Bharat Suthar

I am principal creator of I like riding Electric Car, UTV in mountains and Terrain, Also I try to share all the real life experience here in the site.I am really dedicated to write about my experience. I love doing all the outdoor activity including riding electric car, dirt biking and hiking.

Recent Posts