Tag Archives: Electric car battery fires

Electric Social Distancing, by Eric Peters

When a car company tells you to keep your car at least 50 feet away from other cars lest your car’s battery explodes and starts a fire on a nearby car, prudence dictates get a new car. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

GM has just advised owners of the Chevy Bolt electric car to park the thing at least 50 feet away from other cars, so as to avoid burning them to cinders – along with the auto-igniting Bolt.

What’s fascinating about this isn’t the advisory. It is the complete lack of “action” – to use the word so favored by government and those who reverence government – by the government.

What does it say about a government that lays claim to being The Great Protector – the issuer of fatwas and ukases with regard to safety – that it has issued no fatwas or ukases with regard to cars that are so dangerous the company that makes them has issued an advisory that they should be isolated by 50 feet from anything they might cremate?

The dissonance is halting.

Until one realizes it’s not dissonant. It is consonant  with every action of government – which merely uses the pretext of “safety” to further the thing that defines government, that being the exercise of power.

Once one understand this, one understands everything.

It begins to make sense that the same government which issued fatwas and ukases requiring every vehicle be equipped with multiple air bags – in the name of safety – not only didn’t lift a finger to take cars with dangerously defective air bags off the road, it refused to grant permission to the owners of the cars to have these known-to-be-dangerous devices even temporarily disabled, until a non-defective replacement could be installed.

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The Built-In Defect, by Eric Peters

There’s only one teeny tiny little problem with electric cars: sometimes they spontaneously combust. And the fires are hard to put out. But other than that, they’re perfect. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

The infamously exploding Ford Pinto was recalled because of a design defect with the Pinto. That particular car. But cars – as such – weren’t defective, so only the Pinto was recalled for its proclivity to burn when hit from behind.

But electric cars have this defect designed into them.

All of them.

And unlike with the Pinto, you don’t have to get hit – or hit anything – for an electric car to burn. The things can – and have – caught fire when parked. Actually, “caught” is not the right word to describe what happens.

Spontaneous combustion is better.

It is because of the nature/design of electric car batteries, which are not like the small 12 volt battery that starts the engine of a not-electric car. That battery is generally lead-acid and fires are very rare because it requires at least two predicates: A spark – as caused by jumper cables contacting the battery’s terminals – and leaking hydrogen gas. If both of those predicates aren’t present, a 12 volt starter battery fire is highly improbable.

It’s almost unheard of nowadays because almost all 12 volt starter batteries made since the ‘90s are sealed. Hence, no gas can escape, all-but-eliminating the possibility of a fire ignited by a spark during a jump-start operation.

You can break the case of a 12 volt starter battery and it will leak – but not burn.

Electric car batteries, on the other hand, are very high voltage batteries – 400 volts is typical; 800 volts is becoming common – and they are fire-prone by design.

A process called thermal runaway can trigger a fire without a spark – or an impact. This most commonly happens when the electric car is being charged – and it is why electric car fast-charging is always a potential fire problem.

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