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Toxic Gases from Fire in Electric Vehicles
Willstrand Ola, Bisschop Roeland, Blomqvist Per, Temple Alastair, Anderson Johan
Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)
The ongoing shift to electromobility has identified new risk areas. Fires involving electric vehicles have attracted considerable media attention and a strong concern related to burning electric vehicles containing lithium-ion batteries is the release of toxic gas. This report includes a literature review, vehicle fire tests, battery fire tests and simulations to gather and present data on gas and heat release during fire in electric vehicles. One electrical vehicle and one conventional vehicle in the full-scale fire tests were of the same model from the same manufacturer which enable a good comparison between the powertrains. Peak heat release rate and total heat release are affected by the fire scenario and vehicle model, but not significantly on the powertrain. Regarding toxic gases, hydrogen fluoride represents the largest difference between electric vehicles and conventional vehicles, but when smoke from vehicle fire is inhaled there are several acute toxic gases present regardless of the type of vehicle burning. Except hydrogen fluoride, there are also some specific metals present in the smoke that constitutes a large difference between the powertrains.