With the number of electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in electric vehicles (PHEV’s) and hybrid vehicles on the rise, the Independent Garage Association (IGA) has highlighted the potential risks associated with the lithium-ion batteries that power them.
A new report published by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, which examines the technology behind electric vehicle batteries, details fire hazards and how to handle incidents and risk management routines.
An IGA spokesperson said: “There are many different types of lithium-ion batteries, all with different chemistries, packaging and the way they are integrated into vehicles, but one commonality with these batteries is that they must be kept within a specific voltage and temperature range.
“These limits can be exceeded if the battery or its casing become damaged due to an accident or even a fault with the vehicle.
“As more lithium-ion battery powered vehicles are in use on the roads there will be a greater the risk of them becoming involved in accidents, which poses threats to everyone involved including responders and those associated with repairing the car.
“Therefore, it is vital to understand how these batteries work and how to identify, manage and prevent fire hazards.”
The report concludes: “There is no denying that EVs are accompanied
by new risks, but there is no evidence that points at EVs being less safe than conventional vehicles.
“Automotive lithium-ion batteries are also inherently safer than those used for small consumer applications.
“However, failures will happen and will become more common with increased number of EVs.
“The way forward is to take on this challenge through measures and safety systems that bring risks down to acceptable levels.
“Only then will society achieve the same comfort level for EVs as they have for conventional vehicles.
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