There has been a lively debate for years. At its heart: electric cars. They are accused, for example, of being less safe. Combustion engines also have a smaller ecological footprint. Many of these prejudices have already been refuted – now another one too. The data from a US traffic authority shows that electric vehicles do not catch fire more often than cars with petrol or diesel engines.
Crucible for electric cars
A research team from AutoinsuranceEZ, a comparison site for insurance and other services, looked at data from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), and Recalls.gov. The aim was to clarify one question: do electric cars, combustion engines or even hybrid vehicles burn more?
The team found that a combustion engine car is more likely to catch fire after an accident than an electric car. The reason for this, however, is initially that electric vehicles are simply less often on the roads than combustion engines. This knowledge, which the researchers gained from absolute numbers, does not necessarily mean that e-cars catch fire relatively less often.
To determine the rate of vehicle fires by vehicle type, the group took the latest NTSB vehicle fire data. These were compared with the sales data of the BTS. The result: Hybrid vehicles are in first place with the most fires per 100,000 units sold. Combustion engines take second place and electric vehicles third. For comparison:
(per 100,000 vehicles)
The compared data shows that e-cars do not catch fire nearly as often as vehicles with other types of drive. That, although the fires of the Stromer are only too happy to be highlighted.
“Electric cars are less likely to catch fire than gas-powered cars, but the duration and intensity of fires can make extinguishing efforts significantly more difficult due to the use of lithium-ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are notoriously difficult to cool. Even if they appear to be off for 24 hours, they can generate enough heat to reignite.”
Axel Hernborg, managing director of Tripplo