The argument that there are more electric car fires than gasoline car fires is silly, yet many people believe this is the case. I recently saw a few articles pointing to a study by Auto Insurance EZ which analyzed and compared data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and government recall data from recalls.gov.
While looking over the study, I noticed something familiar and realized that I’ve included data from the study in this article, which pointed out that spontaneous Tesla firers are incredibly rare. However, in that article, I didn’t fully break down the study itself. I only used it as one of the sources for that particular article.
One key point from the study showed that hybrid vehicles have the most vehicle fires per 100,000 vehicle sales, followed by gasoline-powered vehicles. However, we should not forget that Chevy recalled over 140,000 Bolts due to a few of the vehicles catching on fire. EV fires can occur, but compared with gas fires, it’s important to remember that they are pretty uncommon. EVs placed third with only 25 fires per 100,000 EV sales.
The study not only looks into fires and recalls to see if EVs are more prone to car fires than gas or hybrid cars but also discusses how cars catch fire, shares expert advice on car fires, and addresses frequently asked questions.
Using data from the above government sources, the study found that you are more likely to see a gas car fire after a collision than an electric car fire.
“Based on this data, electric vehicles don’t catch fire nearly as much as the news claims. Hybrid cars seem to be the most dangerous for fires, followed by gas vehicle.”
The findings showed that in EV and hybrid vehicles, it is usually battery issues that can lead to fires instead of electrical wiring issues. This also reflects a key difference from gas vehicle recalls related to fire risk, which were for issues such as fuel leaks, electrical shorts, and anti-lock braking systems.
The study also addresses the difficulty of putting out fires. Although the data show that EV fires aren’t as common as gas fires, they are still dangerous and are often harder to put out than gas fires. The study noted that most firefighters aren’t familiar with how to put out EV fires since they are somewhat new.
The National Fire Protection Association has a lot of good information on EV safety training and educational videos on lithium-ion battery fires in EVs. One such video focuses on the best practices for extinguishing EV fires. The organization is also providing a first responder online training program that meets NTSB recommendations — so if your loved one, a friend, or a family member is a firefighter or first responder, you could pass along that information to them. You can learn more here.
There is a risk of fire in every car, whether it’s an electric, gas-powered, or diesel-powered car. However, there’s also a risk of being struck by lightning if you’re outside during a thunderstorm. With all things, there are risks, but especially with cars. Globally, around 1.35 million people die in road crashes every year, equalling out to an average of 3,700 people dying every day on the roads worldwide. However, this doesn’t stop people from driving.
The idea that you shouldn’t buy an EV because the batteries can catch on fire is pure manufactured FUD. However, we can’t overlook that there are risks. There are risks in everything. The importance lies in being safe and utilizing safe practices while driving.
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