Electric cars are not more dangerous than gasoline and diesel, experts say
Another case of Tesla's burnt electric car was released a few days ago in China, where Model C ignite underground parking, then exploded. Luckily, no one suffered, but in an accident earlier this year, with the model C, the driver did not come out of the car that ignited, and he burned.
But why are such incidents happening? Are electric vehicles so dangerous? The answers to these questions are trying to give the Auto.mail edition, using the views of experts and dealers of electric cars. They say Tesla's cars are burning for various reasons, not just because of the same problem.
The first cases were almost 6 years ago
In 2013, the first burnt Tesla is fixed, in this case the fault is a metal part of the towing device. It hits the bottom of an electric car and damages the battery below the floor. After the second such case, Tesla engineers took control of the pneumatic suspension, the purpose of which is not to reduce the clearance of the ground at high speed. The body of the battery is enhanced and has special protection.
Sometimes the reasons for the fires – like those in Shanghai a few days ago – are inexplicable. Tesla sent a team to China to investigate the case. A similar incident, but with the Tesla Model X, was in February in Vermont (USA). Then, a completely burnt crossover was found on the frozen lake. It turned out that the owner had followed the fish and hit a stone, and then his car began to make strange sounds and set it on fire.
What are the tests for accidents?
Obstacles are the most common cause of Tesla burning. Laboratory tests, however, show that this type of car is the safest. Tesla is at the head of the National Traffic Safety Authority (NHTSA). The only problems with them were the roof and airbags, but on the recommendation of the experts, they were removed.
The American IIHS and the Australian sub-division of the NCAP tested 42 hybrids and electric cars that showed greater performance than standard internal combustion engines. In any case, IIHS succumbed to a special observation of the tested machines, which lasted for 2 weeks. During this period none of them did not brighten out.
However, this happened with one of the prototypes of NHTSA. The hybrid Chevrolet Volt was tested with a side impact, then went to the car's parking lot. Three weeks later, it was lit and burned.
The human factor
Why are motorists burning in real traffic accidents? Tesla is firmly convinced that in February the incident in Florida is blame for speed. The driver moved too fast, he lost control and hit the tree near the road. It is not clear whether he used the autopilot. Another question is why firefighters failed to open locked doors and the driver set it on fire.
For now, Tesla Model S is a leader in the fires, which is explained by the fact that about 300,000 units are sold by the electric car around the world. The fact is that the S model is the first brand of a brand that is so widely distributed, and that's the problem to be removed on the go. However, the company thoroughly examines every incident and attempts to immediately remove the defects.
With the new model 3, there are no fires yet. In March, on a motorway near Los Angeles, Nissan Sentra hit a fast electric car that fully ignited and burned. Tesla herself sustained herself, was corrected, and returned to work.
Meanwhile, former Tesla engineers told CNBC that most of the mass-produced batteries of the brand are manually collected by Panasonic, a battery-powered company. It's the production problems of the Tesla Gigafactory 1 battery factory that have delayed the launch of Model 3. Battery production leads to more marriage and makes these elements potentially dangerous, former Tesla workers say.
Karma and Chinese
Not only does Tesla's cars burn, but also happens with other electric cars and hybrids. For example, in 2010, Nissan Qashqai, transformed from Future EV in a car, lightened up with the Danish Pearl from Scandinavia. This prompted the carrier to bar transshipment, while Future EV is no longer on the market.
The hybrid sedan Fisker Karma, considered Tesla's competitor, also had serious problems. Shortly after the start of the production, the cars were collected in the workshops due to the leakage of the coolant from the batteries. In 2012, a fire was registered after parking in the garage Karma lit the whole house and two other vehicles.
Later, during Hurricane Sandy, an even more serious incident took place in the port of New Jersey. It destroyed 16 Fisker vehicles that were originally flooded with sea water and then burned. Three Toyota Prius hybrids were also burned in this incident.
Again in 2012, in Shenzhen, China, the electric charging BYD e6, which collided with the Nissan GT-R, was completely burned. The investigation revealed that a spark occurred after the impact, which ignited the materials in the saloon, but the battery did not explode.
What is more dangerous: gasoline or electrolyte?
In order to be able to use the lithium-ion battery safety, most manufacturers have a small electronic unit and a special temperature sensor. This unit monitors charging and discharging, as well as the temperatures in each cell. If it rises, the electrical connection is interrupted and all dangerous chemical reactions will cease. If for some reason this does not happen, the cell has a floating separator that interrupts the movement of the ions between the electrodes.
Another safety measure is the use of alternative batteries to make the batteries. They allow batteries to be used at higher temperatures. For example, in the Jaguar I-Pace, there are 74 sensors for temperature, current and battery voltage, with at least fixed deviation, the system switches off the battery. Separately, the hull also has added protection.
According to the NHTSA study, the risk of fire in lithium-ion batteries is considerably exaggerated. The fact is that they are susceptible to ignition when the temperature increases, but the degree of danger of such a thing is lower than that of gasoline or diesel engines.
Ignition in the lithium-ion battery, as a rule, does not happen immediately, and in most cases passengers are able to leave the vehicle. At the same time, however, fire extinguishing is difficult, and ordinary fire extinguishers do not work. There is also a serious risk of electric shock caused by high voltage electrical systems.
In Austria, Tesla Model S fought in the mantle and began to fire by being extinguished by 35 people and 5 firearms. They only burned it when they stopped the power. There are cases when Tesla again fell. In other incidents, firefighters make mistakes by making holes in the car's hull, which reinforces the fire.
Usually the electric vehicle burns completely. The experts questioned by Bloomberg are sure that the only way to satisfy the lithium-ion battery is to flood thousands of tons of water. In the Netherlands, firefighters were still radical – the avid BMW i8 was moved to a water container where it spent 3 days.
Is the danger exaggerated?
Experts have the right to such an opinion – the danger of a fire in electric vehicles is largely exaggerated. Ilon Musk himself, based on official statistics on disasters, said petrol cars burned 5 times more often than Tesla. By 2018, for example, 40 healed car Tesla (out of a total of 300,000 on the roads) were reported. By comparison, only in 2015, 174,000 vehicles were lit in the US, which means that the car appeared every 3 minutes.
Pictures: Twitter, video: YouTube