All vehicles have a risk of catching fire and Electric Vehicles (EVs) are not an exception, however, they are rare and less likely compared to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. In 2019 London Fire Brigade had 54 EV fires, over the same period they had 1,898 ICE fires.
So how do you protect your EV from being a fire casualty? The tips below will aim to reduce the risks as far as reasonably practicable.
1. Don’t charge your vehicle to 100% unless you absolutely need its full range, for example, a road trip. Day to day use, the vehicle should be charged up to 80%
2. Don’t charge your car immediately after a journey, particularly long journey’s. The battery will be hot and charging will further increase the battery temperature.
3. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when charging your vehicle, and never use a charging point that isn’t compatible with the make of your car.
4. If you are charging from a 13A mains socket in your home, ensure the wiring in your property has been checked prior to doing so. Old wiring may not be able to cope with the demand from charging your vehicle overnight and risk a fire in your property.
5. Have your car regularly inspected/serviced at an EV specialist or car manufacturers dealership.
6. Where possible, charge your car on your drive rather than in a garage. Fit a smoke detector in your garage if this is your primary charging location.
7. Have your home charge point installed by a qualified and competent person. Any signs of damage or wear and tear should also be examined by a competent person.
8. Check your charge point manufacturer for any product recalls or safety notes quarterly.
9. Check your car manufacturer for any product recalls or safety notes quarterly, including charge cables.
10. Do not use a damaged charge cable or charge point. If these are public points, report them to the provider.
11. If you have any accidents, even small bumps that only appear to cause cosmetic damage, have the vehicle battery inspected by an EV specialist or car dealership. Even the smallest dent to a battery pack can cause it to catch fire.
12. If your vehicle does unfortunately catch fire, get to a point of safety and call 999. Do not attempt to try and extinguish the fire yourself as this is unlikely to be effective.