New research project on fire risks in Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Fires in vehicles are often severe , spread quickly and can have significant safety and environmental consequences. Modern infrastructure such as road tunnels and underground facilities require that first responders be prepared to deal with vehicle fires in especially hazardous conditions. These challanges are compounded by lack of knowledge of the risks associated with fires involving electric or hybrid vehicles.

Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection will participate in a new research project led by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden on how to deal with fire hazards of lithium-ion batteries in vehicles.

With this new project together with RISE, Scania, SFVF (The Swedish Association of Vehicle Workshops), NEVS and Fogmaker the fire risks will be mapped and the possibilities to reduce the risks and consequences of a thermal incident in or in connection with li-ion batteries in vehicles will be studied. The project is timely due to the fact that there is a big increase in electric vehicles and the transition to renewable fuels.

Fire risks releated to battery spaces, including specific risks when charging and procedures for handling electric vehicles and batteries after a crash, bearing in mind the risk of fire at a later stage, will be studied. This work will lead to future safety solutions, including system design and battery placement.

The focus of the project will be to investigate the extent to which fixed/integrated fire suppression systems, that are widely used to protect engine compartments on heavy vehicles, can be applied to vehicles powered by li-ion batteries, as well as how the system should be designed. An expectation is that it will be possible to leverage existing resources to reduce the fire risks - as an example, 94% of all public transport buses in Sweden already have fixed fire suppression systems installed.

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