Can electric car batteries explode within a year?-An ultimate guide 2024

Can electric car batteries explode within a year
Can electric car batteries explode within a year

Worried about your electric car? Can your electric car battery explode? Among the news of electric vehicles catching fire worldwide, the EV owners are worried the most. Here we discuss that do you need to worry about the explosion of electric car batteries. After what period, there are chances of electric car batteries exploding?

Lithium-ion batteries are used in electric cars, whether it is tesla, BMW, or Hyundai. The risk of catching fire in Electric cars is around one in the 12 million.”, according to CNN Business. Do you know? According to data, fewer electric vehicles caught fire than gasoline ones.

Here we go through the authentic sources and let’s see what experts say on this.  


Can Electric Car Batteries Explode?

The obvious concern about Electric cars is that, are they safe? They use batteries, and do they have chances to Explode?

The facts say yes. There are several cases of electric vehicles catching fire, worldwide. The main reason for concern about these fires is the batteries. Recently several vehicles were recalled from the market due to the risk of fire, by EV companies. This included BMW, Hyundai, and GM too. There are also cases of electric cars catching fire worldwide.

Due to the risk of fire due to the chance of debris in batteries, BMW initiated a recall in September in the unites states. This involves the 10 BMW and mini plug-in hybrid models.

Also recently, Hyundai announced 75000 Kona electric SUVs to be recalled worldwide, while 6700 among them are in the US. The reason said here are the reports of vehicles catching fire while parking.

The spontaneous battery fires in Chevrolet Bolt EVs led to an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The below table shows the recalls by various electric brands and the reasons

Car Brand ModelNumber of cars recalledReason
BMW10 BMW and Mini plug-in hybrid models83Risk of fire due to the chance of debris in batteries
HyundaiKona Electric75000Vehicle catching fire
GMChevrolet Bolt70000Risk of catching fire
Electric car vehicles recalls and details along with reason

There are several cases of such battery fires worldwide. But what are the reasons, and circumstances that lead to the battery explosion? Here are the main reasons for the battery explosions. But can lithium-ion batteries lead to an explosion within a year or two years?

How Lithium-Ion Batteries can lead to An Explosion?

Lithium-ion batteries contain positive and negative electrodes isolated from each other. They have combustible electrolyte fluid. If The external or internal factors affect the diaphragm separating the two electrodes.

When this isolation gets damaged or failed, the electrolytes and both electrodes get in direct contact with each other. This causes the release of sudden electric energy which is then converted to heat energy. Which leads to a violent chemical reaction. This causes the lithium-ion battery to explode. The electrolytes get vaporized and come out of the shell.

A similar violent reaction occurs in all the cells included in the lithium-ion electric car battery. The lithium-ion batteries contain hundreds and thousands of lithium-ion cells inside them. And this causes the explosion of an electric car battery.

The 150 kWh battery has an energy density equivalent to 1/10th of the energy density of heat generated by the explosion of the TNT, Writes Manly batteries. Then why the electric car batteries have such a high energy density if they can explode? The answer is that electric cars are expected to cover a long way without the need for charging.

The solution to this is to store a large amount of energy in a single battery. But not to make the battery heavier and bulkier. So small batteries and large energy is something that automakers are looking for. But while doing that they should maintain the safety limits.    

Why do Electric Car Batteries Explode?

Why do Electric Car Batteries Explode?

Electric batteries can burn or catch fire or explode if they are improperly manufactured, abused, damaged or the software that protects batteries in the car fails to do its job, says  Ken Boyce, principal engineer director of Energy and Power Technologies at Underwriters Laboratories, in a CNN Business article. Hot Cars writes the same thing.

We went through various battery explosion cases. There are three main reasons why electric car batteries get exploded. These are

Damaged Battery

The damaged battery is said to be a reason for the explosion of electric cars. Lithium-ion batteries are used in electric cars. There is isolation between two electrodes of the battery so that they cannot get in contact with each other.

Also, there are hundreds of such lithium-ion cells in one electric car battery. When there is damage to the battery, there are chances to be rising heat in the battery and thermal runout.

Damaged battery

One cell damage can lead to another and the battery gets prone to heat up and explode. Such batteries can meet up with an explosion. Even after an explosion, it is hard to extinguish the fire, as cells keep igniting after extinguishing also. The battery can be damaged due to various factors.

  • Accidents
car accident

In the accident of an electric car in case it damages a part of the battery, the battery might malfunction and can cause an explosion.

  • Overcharging:

The wrong charging practices and overcharging the battery can lead to long-term damage to a battery. This damage can cause the same amount of overheating of the battery, and in the long term, it can cause the damage to internal parts of the battery. Overcharging and overheating go hand in hand. The overcharging may be a reason for the battery explosion, as the heat gets a role here.  

  • Exposure to heat

Though heat and temperature are different terms, they can cause the same effect on electric car batteries. If the electric car battery is exposed to heat or higher temperatures the heat can damage the internal cells of the battery. This can cause an electric car battery to explode.

  • Software failure

As electric cars are smart enough they take care of their batteries. There is a built-in system in every electric car, that controls the battery from overheating, extreme cooling, etc. It keeps the battery in better condition. But if that software fails there are chances of the battery getting damaged by factors that we even don’t know. This can cause the battery to explode if the battery stays hot all time.

  • Improper manufacturing

There might be faulty batteries manufactured by the automakers, or any battery provider. These batteries may contain improper assembling, or accidentally may contain any foreign debris. It may be Manufacturer Defect.

Such types of batteries if get installed in electric vehicles, the electric car batteries are prone to explosion. Recently BMW recalled its 10 models including the hybrid cars, because of the risk of cars catching fire due to the debris that may have gotten into the batteries from their side.

To avoid such explosions to your electric car, you need to take a car with an electric car battery.

Can Electric Car Batteries Explode within a Year?

Though electric cars catching fire is highly popularized in the news the explosion of electric vehicle batteries is rare. Gasoline vehicles cause more fires than electric vehicles do.

But there is a possibility that a new electric car battery can catch fire. The reason can be improper manufacturing of the battery or damage to the battery by accident, overheating, or any other external or internal factor. But it is rare.

If you are taking care of your electric car then there are very minute chances, because the electric cars are made adhering to the safety norms and considering all types of situations.

The chances of an electric car battery exploding within a year are less because a car is a new vehicle that comes with optimum performance and all systems running correctly. The car is not much more used and the battery is also a good condition and there is no damage to it.  

Can an electric car battery explode within 2 years?

The electric car batteries can explode within 2 years only if there is certain damage to the battery or other factors such as heat, system failure, etc. which make it happen. Otherwise, there are hardly any chances that it will happen. There are only possibilities we can talk about.

As the system takes care of the battery automatically, you don’t need to worry about it. There are certain ways by which you can take care of an electric car battery and give it a long life.

Can an Electric Car Battery Explode within 5 Years?

Though the age of the battery is a factor, it is not the age of the battery primarily, the other factors and condition of the battery are more important. The electric car battery can explode within 5 years if the battery condition is not good. 

If the battery condition is good then the electric car battery will not explode within 5 years. Also if there is any heat exposure or an accident is there, then might the electric car battery explode. 

Otherwise, the owner doesn’t need to worry about that. Most electric vehicle companies such as tesla, and Nissan leaf, give a warranty period of 5 to 8 years where you can replace your electric car battery. If you are concerned you can think about that.

Can an Electric Car Battery Explode within 10 Years?

The older the electric car batteries are safer as they got old, research says. The research said that the batteries lose their capacity over time. The thermal runout chances are found to be less in the older electric car batteries. That means fewer chances of an explosion.

Here we are talking about a 10-year battery. The 2 factors play here a role. One is the age, and the other is the battery condition. If the battery condition is good then there are fewer possibilities of an explosion of the battery within 10 years.

Here is table about the chances of explosion of electric car battery within a year, 2 year,5 year and 10 year

Age of Electric car battery Chances of explosionReasons/Factors affecting
1 year Fewer chances, But possible Improper manufacturing
Damage to the battery
Other external / internal factor.
2 yearChances of explosion are only in certain conditionsOnly if there is certain damage to the battery or other factors such as heat, system failure, etc.
5 year Yes and No, Equal chances of ExplosionIf the battery condition is good then the electric car battery will not explode within 5 years. Also if there is any heat exposure or an accident, then might the electric car battery explode. 
10 years Fewer chances of explosionBatteries lose their capacity over time. The thermal runout chances are found to be less in the older electric car batteries.
Chances of explosion of electric car batteries according to their age and reasons for it

Comparison of Gasoline and Electric Car Explosions

Gasoline and Electric Car

Among the many cases of electric battery explosion coming into the news, the facts say that gasoline vehicles also undergo such cases. But electric vehicles are covered more as this is new technology. But the concern is still there because electric vehicles require more amount of water to extinguish the fire than gasoline ones.

Here is the comparison of the gasoline and electric car explosions.  Electrek

Here is the table showing Comparison of fire cases of electric cars, gasoline and hybrid cars

Vehicle fuel typeCases per 100k SalesTotal cases
Comparison of fire cases of electric cars, gasoline and hybrid cars

The data shows that gasoline vehicles also cause explosions, and they are more than electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are fewer on the roads as compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. Thus the reported cases are more of a gasoline vehicle.

Still talking with the cases per 100k sales clearly states that the electric vehicle explosions are way less than the gasoline vehicles.


Do electric car batteries degrade over time?

Electric car batteries degrade over time. They lose their capacity with time and become less efficient.

What are the chances of an electric car battery exploding?

The chances of an electric car battery exploding are one in 12 million. But the intensity of fire by electric cars is more and it is difficult to extinguish.

Are older electric car batteries safe?

According to research the more the electric car battery is old, the more it is safe. As electric car batteries lose their capacity over time, they are less prone to catch fire.

How much amount of water is needed to extinguish a fire caused by tesla?

Recently in a fire caused by a tesla at Stamford, firefighters required 25000 gallons of water for 42 minutes to extinguish the fire. That means 600 gallons per minute.

What are the difficulties in extinguishing the fire caused by electric cars?

The first difficulty is to protect the first responders and get control over the flames but the vapors are hazardous. To make the first responders away from the vapors, also bring the firefighters, all conclude to a difficult situation.

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