From Tesla to Ola S1 Pro – Why Are EVs Catching Fire?

The instances of the EVs catching fire have gone up significantly over the last few months. The onset of the summer season has seen a ton of EVs catching fire.

Ever since the beginning of the summer season this year, we have witnessed a plethora of EVs catching fire and no one knows why. In some of these cases, people have lost their lives or sustained terrible injuries. The recent incidents in India involved electric scooters from Ola, Okinawa and Pure EV. While some of these caught fire while being charged, the others were engulfed in flames in a parked position. There have also been videos on the internet of parked Tesla cars catching fire. This video highlights some of the reasons why EVs catch fire.

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Why Are EVs Catching Fire?

The Li-ion batteries used in the EVs, mobile phones or our laptops are the prime reasons where the fire in an electric scooter starts. The construction of Li-ion batteries is such that the cells are placed in close proximity to each other. Once fire starts, it can’t be controlled easily because the chemical reaction keeps happening without the need for oxygen. That is what makes these fires so dangerous and unique. That is also the reason why, in some cases, the fire persists for 24 hours or more despite putting water over it. Chemical reactions can’t be easily controlled.

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The structure of cells themselves could be the reason for this. The cylindrical cells have spaces between them while placed inside a module in the battery which allows cooling material or insulation to prevent the spread of fire. However, the rectangular block-shaped cells are closer to each other and run the risk of an uncontrollable fire. It is done to achieve a higher packing efficiency by some EV makers. Another reason for fires could be a faulty BMS (Battery Management System) leading to an electrical short circuit. There could be many reasons for it and it could lead to a fire in an EV irrespective of which cell chemistry is used to make the battery.

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ola s1 pro tesla fire
Ola S1 Pro and Tesla fire incidents

In inference, we must understand that batteries could be dangerous but there are millions of EVs and other electronic appliances that use Li-ion batteries. Most of these devices are behaving normally and we can’t be overly fearful of such cases, especially after knowing why some EVs are catching fire these days.

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