Are Electric Cars at High Speed Prone to Catch Fire? A complete guide 2024

Are Electric Cars at High Speed Prone to Catch Fire?
Are electric cars at high speed prone to catch fire?

Compared to traditional cars, EVs are less likely to catch fire. According to the number of fires per billion kilometers driven, a conventional car is ten times more likely to catch fire. Electric vehicles offer an avenue to improve air quality and reduce fuel costs and represent a growing new category for automakers. However, with the transition to electromobility comes new challenges. Vehicles with lithium-ion batteries can be especially dangerous if they catch fire. So ,Are electric cars prone to catching fire when driven at high speeds?

No, electric cars are not more prone to catching fire at high speeds than gasoline-powered cars. There have been instances of electric cars catching fire after high-speed crashes due to their lithium-ion batteries being more volatile if damaged or exposed to high temperatures. Fortunately, fires in battery-electric vehicles are not common. As per a survey for the last few years, a total of 10% approx. EVs caught fire.

The table below shows the percentage analysis of EV fire indicates.

insurance CompanyTotal Number of Vehicle Fire IncidentsTotal number of EV Fire Indicates
A (2010 – 2021)56727 (4.8)%
B (2018 – 2021)49913 (2.4)%
C (2021)3869 (2.3)%
Percentage analysis of EV Fire Indicates.

Emma Sutcliffe, leader of the EV FireSafe project in Melbourne, Australia, said the researchers needed more data before they could finally determine the rate of fire, but the preliminary study showed that full Fires in electric vehicles are rare.

A study by AutoinsuranceEZ found that internal combustion engine vehicles have a 1.5% chance of catching fire, while battery electric vehicles have only a 0.03% chance of catching fire. Their study found that hybrid electric vehicles with both a high-voltage battery and an internal combustion engine have a 3.4% chance of a vehicle fire.

However, in the event of a fire, EVs with lithium-ion batteries burn hotter, burn faster, and require more water to fully extinguish, Sutcliffe said. Batteries can also ignite again hours or days after the initial fire is extinguished, which can endanger scrap yards, repair shops, etc.


What do Researchers say When Electric Cars at High Speed Prone to catch Fire?

What happens when electric cars at high speed prone to catch fire?

  1. Hybrid Cars are the most dangerous for fires.
Hybrid Car caught fire

“Based on this data, electric vehicles don’t catch fire nearly as much as the news claims,” explains Rachel Bodine, writing for AutoinsuranceEZ. “Hybrid cars seem to be the most dangerous for fires, followed by gas vehicles.”

Researchers at AutoinsuranceEZ also analyzed data on 2020 vehicle recalls related to fire hazards and found that fire hazards for both hybrid and electric vehicles were all linked to battery issues. The researchers concluded that “it seems to be mostly battery issues that can lead to fires, rather than electrical wiring issues.”

  1. New models with safety.

Chas McGarvey, the Chief Fire Officer of Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion Fire Department, told CNBC that one Tesla Model S Plaid fire his department handled in 2021 burned so hot that it melted the roadway beneath it. 

Sutcliffe told CNBC, “A lot of the time firefighters and fire agencies are just expected to kind of figure it out.” With so many new models coming out, Fire Chief McGarvey there in Pennsylvania said, “We’re still trying to catch up with all this stuff. But it changes almost every day!”

  1. Lithium-ion Batteries easily catch fire.

Lithium-ion batteries

Eric Wachsman, Director of the Maryland Energy Laboratory said: “the qualities that make lithium-ion battery cells powerful enough to move a passenger vehicle can also make them vulnerable to igniting– especially if battery cells within them are damaged or defective.”

Lithium-ion battery cells have electrodes placed close together, which increases the chances of a short, he says, and they are filled with a flammable liquid electrolyte. “This flammable liquid could get into what’s called a thermal runaway situation where it just starts sort of boiling, and that results in a fire,” he said.

The electric vehicle includes a battery management system to maintain the correct operating temperature for the high-voltage battery inside, and these systems control the rate at which the battery is charged and discharged. Improvements to them as well as the battery cells themselves promise to make EVs safer.

  1. Switching to LFP batteries.

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) Battery

Tesla recently announced it’s switching from lithium-ion battery cells to lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries. Other major automakers including Ford, and VW are also substituting LFPs for nickel or cobalt formulations used in some of their electric vehicles.

These are generally believed to be a lot safer,” said Paul Christensen, Professor of Electrochemistry at Newcastle University, his research focuses on fire and the safety of lithium-ion batteries.

Ultimately, he believes all-electric vehicles could be safer than the petrol and diesel alternatives.

“We’ve had a long time to fully understand the risks and hazards associated with petrol and diesel cars. We’re going to have to learn faster how to deal with the challenges of electric vehicles. But we will.”

  1. Efforts of firefighters.

Efforts of firefighters.

Florida officials have warned that firefighters are working on a series of fires caused by electric vehicle (EV) batteries that were flooded by Hurricane Ian.

  1. Corrosion of EV Batteries.

Corrosion of EV Batteries.

According to Jimmy Patronis, the state’s chief financial officer and firefighter flooded EV batteries after the hurricane is at risk of corrosion, which could lead to unexpected fires.

“There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As those batteries corrode, fires start,” Patronis tweeted Thursday. “That’s a new challenge that our firefighters haven’t faced before. At least on this kind of scale.”

“It takes special training and understanding of EVs to ensure these fires are put out quickly and safely,” he continued in a follow-up tweet. “Thanks to [North Collier Fire Rescue] for their hard work.”

Patronis has released a video of firefighters in Naples, Fla., fighting a fire originating from a Tesla electric car battery. In the video, a bystander can be heard saying the crew used hundreds of gallons of water to put out the fire.

  1. EVs destroyed by the storm.

Last week, Hurricane Ian hit cities along Florida’s west coast, including Naples and Fort Myers, making landfall as a Category 4 storm. The hurricane claimed more than 100 lives and cut power to over a million residents.

It is not known how many electric vehicles were affected or destroyed by the storm. Firefighters try to put out a flooded electric car after Hurricane Ian hit the west coast of Florida.

  1. Biden’s EVs Law.

Meanwhile, consumers are increasingly turning to electric vehicles as the Biden administration continues to push for a green transition with zero-emission vehicles.

Electric vehicles accounted for 5.6% of new car purchases in the US from April to June, up slightly from the first three months of 2022, according to Kelly Blue Book.

Shortly after taking office, President Biden announced a goal for 50% of new car sales to be electric by 2030. The Biden administration has also taken numerous steps to encourage Americans to switch to electric vehicles.

The president signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act in August, which includes provisions that give Americans a tax credit of $7,500 for each EV purchase he makes, and the Department of Transportation announced his “We have been working on building an EV charging network.”

  1. Wrong impression of EVs.

Critics have accused the administration of giving the “wrong impression” of electric vehicles, saying they are often expensive and unreliable.

[The EV push] is really kind of a con job,” Myron Ebell, the director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, told FOX Business in July. “It may be a good deal for some people in some places under some circumstances. But by and large, right now, it’s not a good deal.”

Fire Brigadiers Training to Avoid EV Fire Incidents?

Fire brigadiers training.

Fire departments across the country are working hard to increase our knowledge and understanding of these fires as we will inevitably see more electric vehicles on the road.

Simon Kirsopp and his Tyne & Ware Fire and Rescue team worked closely with Professor Paul Christensen and the Faraday Institute to develop a better understanding of how heat affects a fully charged battery.

Together, they developed a new training program to provide information and guidance to crew members by teaching them how best to deal with electric vehicle fires.

They also developed a mobile data terminal that firefighters can use to determine which model of vehicle is on fire, where the battery is, and where the disconnect switch is.

International agencies are also experimenting with new fire extinguishing methods, such as completely immersing batteries. However, the success of this method is currently unknown.

Why do EV Batteries Generally catch Fire?

There are two main reasons why lithium-ion batteries fail.

  • An internal flaw
  • A manufacturing defect in the battery can cause a fire

Two main reasons why battery to catch fire.

An internal flaw.

Make your batteries. The second type of battery failure is usually

Multiple Factors – Stresses on the battery such as vibration, electrical shorts, or accidents.

A manufacturing defect in the battery can cause a fire.

On the other hand, excessive vibration is. H. Lithium ion and lithium metal cells, thermal runaway during failure.

Thermal runaway leads to rapid increases in battery cell temperature and pressure, releasing combustible gases. These combustible gases often cause flame explosions and are ignited by the high temperature of the battery, eventually leading to a fire.

Thermal runaway can also be caused by small metal particles contacting various parts of the battery and causing short circuits.

In the event of a slight short circuit, the battery self-discharges and the discharge energy is so small that it generates very little heat. However, if a large number of metal particles accumulate in one place, a large-scale electrical short circuit may occur, causing a large current to flow between the positive and negative electrodes, which may cause burns.

In such cases, the temperature inside the battery case can quickly reach 500 degrees Celsius, potentially causing the cells to explode or catch fire.

How Often does An EV Fire Incident take Place?

Fortunately, while these fires are a real threat, they remain extremely rare.

According to data obtained by Air Quality News through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, the London Fire Service handled just 54 electric vehicle fires in 2019, compared with 1,898 petrol and diesel fires. did.

Similarly, so far in 2020, firefighters have handled 1,021 petrol and diesel fires and just 27 electric vehicle fires.

As Elon Musk himself tweeted: ‘Tesla, like most electric cars, are over 500% less likely to catch fire than combustion engine cars, which carry massive amounts of highly flammable fuels.

Elon Musk

What are the Signs that EVs Can Catch Fire?

There are certain signs that one can feel, in case a lithium-ion battery is about to catch on fire. The battery may become extremely hot or swell. Additionally, the battery may begin to discolor, cause damage, blister, and begin to smoke.

Can EV Fire be Extinguished?

Can EV Fire be Extinguished?

In the past few months, there have been several cases of electric vehicles, especially electric motorbikes catching on fire. In one of the tragic incidents, a father and son duo died when their tram caught fire inside their home, suffocating them.

Fortunately, EV fires can be extinguished. EV battery fires must be extinguished by cooling.

It’s not like a gasoline flame, there’s no molten liquid going downhill and igniting everything, so it’s less worrisome. But batteries contain both fuel and oxidants – dissolving them with foam won’t do anything.

You need to cool the battery – water – lots of water – and when the battery stops burning, keep pouring water on it. Most electric vehicle fires happen sometime after an accident that damages the battery – the damage causes a build-up of heat and then becomes a fire.

There’s not as much energy trapped in the battery as in the fuel tank, so if it burned, it wouldn’t be as powerful. Like any car accident, get out of the car first – then worry about putting out the fire.

What Tweet says.

Here are tweets related to electric vehicles and how they catch fire.

  1. Science Academy

  1. Stan Voice of wales

First Respondents in EV fire/accident incident.

If possible, the high-voltage battery should be disconnected after an accident (this is usually automatic) and in the event of a fire, pour plenty of water on top. If there is a lot of smoke, the fan should be kept away from people.

Electric vehicle fires are relatively rare compared to gas-powered vehicles, but they last longer.

How to Avoid EV Fire?

Electric vehicle fires are rare and the risk of electric vehicle fires is significantly lower than that of internal combustion engine vehicles. However, when an electric vehicle using a lithium-ion battery catches fire, it is really difficult to put out the fire. Although there are some basic tips that you can follow to minimize the risk of fire.

The EV battery should not be charged immediately after the EV is turned off because the lithium-ion cells inside the battery are still very hot at this point. Instead, let the battery cool down before charging. If it’s a removable battery, it’s best to disconnect it from the vehicle and charge it separately.

Use only batteries designed for the vehicle. Using cheaper local batteries can also damage electric vehicles. Also, use the charging cable that came with the mobile device. Avoid placing the battery in direct sunlight or a hot vehicle.

Store batteries in a dry place with proper ventilation, if removable. Remove the battery from the charger when fully charged. Replacement batteries and chargers must be compatible and come from the original manufacturer or authorized dealer.

Electric Car Fires could Flare up Again?

Firefighting in battery electric vehicles (BEVs) is generally more difficult than in gasoline or diesel vehicles. Lithium-ion batteries are at risk of re-ignition even after the original fire has been extinguished.

For vehicles with an internal combustion engine (ICE), the fuel is removed from the vehicle after extinguishing the fire. However, this is not possible in electric vehicles, as removing the battery is not as easy as emptying the fuel tank.

Also, EV batteries still contain energy and can reignite. First responders, such as firefighters, are less familiar with accidents involving electric vehicles. Therefore, as the number of EVs on the road increases, there will continue to be a need for specific training to deal with EV fire incidents.

Remember, responders have decades of experience dealing with gasoline and diesel fires. Over time, battery electric vehicle (BEV) fires won’t make as many headlines.

Is Water more Effective than Foam at Extinguishing EV Fires?

Water Extinguishing

Yes, water is surprisingly better for electric car-related fires. In general, for gasoline or diesel vehicles, rescuers prefer foam or dry chemicals that are more effective in extinguishing such fires.

However, these are less effective for electric vehicles. Battery-related fires require large amounts of water, and a constant stream of water is directed at the battery until the fire is extinguished. In the event of a fire, do not try to put it out with the garden whistle.

This requires special action and the fire brigade should be called immediately.

Methods to put Out the Fire-

  1. Cut the power.

If electrical ignition equipment is found and you can safely reach the cord and outlet, unplug the appliance.

  1. Add sodium bicarbonate.

  1. Eliminate the source of oxygen.

  1. Check your fire extinguisher.

Can EV Fire Incidents cause Legal Issues?

Successfully extinguishing the fire has not solved the fire brigade’s problem.

EV fires are known to reignite hours, days, and even weeks after the initial event, and this can happen many times.

According to Simon, this is not only a security issue but also a legal one: ‘Recovery firms are increasingly concerned about dealing with electric vehicles.’

“Just because the fire is out at that moment, I don’t know if it will flare up again in the back of the van or at the campsite.’

‘This poses a legal challenge of liability, and as a fire brigade, it’s difficult to make a final call just because you put out a fire doesn’t mean it won’t start again.’


Should you re-think buying an electric car? Not! EV-related fires are indeed less well-known than internal combustion engine fires, but that doesn’t mean EVs pose a higher risk.

As with any technological maturity, automakers will seek to further reduce risk by improving fuel tank design, as they have done with gasoline and diesel vehicles. Battery manufacturers have been improving the design and safety of lithium-ion batteries.


Are Electric Cars prone to Catching Fire?

According to research, electric cars are the least likely to catch fire. 25.1 electric vehicles sold out of 100,000 units caught fire. For the same number of combustion engine cars, 1,529.9 cars caught fire. However, hybrid cars are the ones that catch fire most often.
It shows that hybrid vehicles, with internal combustion engines and electric motors, have the most number of fires per 100,000 vehicles (3,475), while vehicles using only internal combustion engines take second place (1,530 out of 10). 100,000). All-electric vehicles have at least: 25 per 100,000.

What are the Dangers of Electric Cars?

●    Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery fires are still a common problem.
●      They pose a risk of electrocution.
●      The North Dakota weather isn’t conducive to EVs.
●      Autonomous driving dangers come standard.
●      The lack of sound poses a risk to others.
●      If you are in an accident with an electric vehicle.

What Happens when an Electric Car Catches Fire?

While these fires are rare, when they do happen they can be extremely dangerous. In an electric vehicle fire, more than 100 organic chemicals are produced, including extremely toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, both of which are fatal to humans.

What causes Electric Cars to catch Fire?

Lithium-ion batteries can experience thermal runaway and cell rupture if overheated or overcharged, and in severe cases, this can lead to a fire. To reduce these risks, lithium-ion batteries have fail-safe circuits that can shut down the battery when its voltage falls outside the safe range.

Are Tesla more Likely to Catch Fire?

It is important to note that electric vehicles do not catch fire at a higher rate than gasoline cars. Most electric vehicle fires happen after a serious crash, which is quite normal for electric or gas-powered vehicles.

Can Electric Cars Explode in a Fire?

No. The team has nothing on board that can explode. The battery can ignite if punctured, but such a fire will spread slowly and not spray ignited gasoline on the occupants as some vehicle fires start as a result of collisions with ICE vehicles. You are 5 times more likely to survive a crash in your total EVs than a crash that drains your gas mileage.

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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.

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