Essay by Eric Worrall
h/t ResourceGuy; Another EV has joined the ranks of vehicles you probably shouldn’t park close to anything you care about.
Ford F-150 Lightning fire footage highlights a growing EV risk
PUBLISHED THU, APR 20 20238:00 AM EDTUPDATED THU, APR 20 2023AT 1:29 EDT
- New video footage of a fire that started in a Ford F-150 Lightning earlier this year highlights an emerging concern regarding the adoption of electric vehicles.
- The previously unreleased footage, obtained by CNBC, shows smoke billowing from three tightly packed electric pickups. Moments later, flames shoot several feet above the vehicles, which were unoccupied.
- Fires involving EV batteries can burn hotter and longer and require new techniques to extinguish, posing a growing challenge to first responders.
DEARBORN, Mich. — New video footage of a fire involving a Ford F-150 Lightning this year highlights a growing concern around electric vehicles: volatile fires from the batteries that power them.
The previously unreleased footage, which CNBC obtained through Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act from the Dearborn Police Department, shows smoke billowing from three tightly packed electric pickups in a Ford Motor holding lot in Dearborn, Michigan.
Moments later, flames shoot several feet above the vehicles, which were unoccupied. It wasn’t clear based on public documents and police video how long the fires burned. Experts say EV fires can take hours, rather than minutes, to extinguish.
EV fires have become a growing concern as automakers push to increase sales of electric vehicles and meet tightening emissions standards.
…Read more (includes a video): https://www.cnbc.com/2023/04/20/f-150-lightning-fire-footage-growing-ev-risk.html
EV fires are extraordinarily difficult to extinguish, and emit toxic fumes which can cause acute and long term debilitating injuries in anyone unlucky enough to breathe them. They also burn hot enough to melt steel and concrete, and need minimal or in some cases no oxygen to continue burning – more like a thermite fire than an ordinary flame.
Lets hope Ford figure out what went wrong, before someone gets killed.
“Lets hope Ford figure out what went wrong, before someone gets killed.”
Well, in all likelihood someone will get killed either before or after they figure out what went wrong. A Darwin Award is out every year.
Yes, engineers can work around chemistry and physics, they can’t change them. There are fundamental issues that aren’t ideal.
Looks like even the Made in the USA batteries can Self Immolate while charging
Sorry, Someone. I’m sure people have previously asked you about your name, but as the wounded bank robber said at the end of the opening scene of Dirty Harry, I gots to know: Are you related to Somebody, or are you Arya Stark’s alter ego when she was visiting the faceless man?
Boy, 7, and teen killed in fire at New York home sparked by e-bike’s lithium-ion battery, officials sayMonday’s blaze marked the city’s 59th fire and fifth death caused by lithium-ion batteries this year, the chief fire marshal said.
Boy, 7, and teen killed in fire at New York home sparked by e-bike’s lithium-ion battery, officials say (nbcnews.com)
There, it already happened.
I suppose the rationale will be ‘oh never mind we’re saving the planet’ . .
EV’s: tastes like schist and are crazy expensive, but, damn the torpedos, full virtue signaling ahead.
May your enemies choose a solar powered pacemaker.
Or live in a house trailer somewhere in the area of Cole and Moore Oklahoma.
EV batteries burn at 2,000 deg C
Let’s hope the spontaneous battery fire problem is diagnosed and solved before we start loading grade school children into 50 seat EV school buses, or commuters into transit buses. Evacuation time appears to be very short.
It’s going to happen unfortunately and no stupid person will stop it.
The only way to “solve” this is by NOT using them.
…which could easily be achieved by not subsidizing them and not requiring them.
I’m afraid the ‘ol Overton Window has shifted too far to crazy to stop it. The only way out is to ridicule them mercilessly, have a new glaciation begin or have the aliens swing by and tell us Earth’s optimum CO2 PPM is 518
In Norway the Government passed a law that all local authority purchased cars had to be zero emissions from 2022 and buses likewise from 2025.
Does the law also require that the buses not spontaneously combust?
“Enquiring minds want to know.”
The basic problem is that stored energy is dangerous. The least dangerous form is reactor grade uranium. Then coal, Then bunker oils, then the Diesel/kerosenes, then petrol/gasoline, then natural gas, then water behind a dam, then EV batteries and then hydrogen.
Kerosene is probably close to the best fuel one could hope for in terms of not needing a massive piece of engine to make it do something, and yet being reasonly safe enough to let normal people handle it.
Coal isn’t safe. Titanic sank due to coal.
You mean it hit a floating lump of coal and not an iceberg? Wow, they kept that quiet. Makes sense though with it being night and coal being black, I mean it is hardly likely they would miss a huge white iceberg.
There was apparently a bunker fire which may have weakened the steel in that area.
It was probably a contributing factor to the flooding of internal compartments, so the ship may have remained afloat longer otherwise.
Like most such failures, a number of factors contributed to the end result.
Sideswiping a big iceberg certainly isn’t ideal.
The area that might have been damaged by the bunker fire was close to mid-ship, while most of the damage from the ice berg was at the bow of the ship.
All 5 of the first 5 water tight compartments had water leaking into them. Only the last of these water tight compartments had a coal bunker in it.
If the coal fire theory has any merit, the most it could have done was cause the Titanic to sink a little bit faster.
That was what I gathered from the various documentaries as well.
For systems with a high degree of resilience like the Titanic and modern air travel, it seems to take a lot of things going wrong to cause a major failure.
That’s a nice theory, too bad there is no evidence to support it.
The problem is that the collision caused water to flood into the first 5 water tight compartments. That alone was sufficient to sink the Titanic. Even if the coal fire did soften the iron, it would have, at most, made the damage in the 5th of those compartments a little bit worse.
In other words, it couldn’t have been enough to make a difference.
Fires involving EV batteries can burn hotter and longer …
Hotter and longer than what? Typical bad reporting/editing by CNBC, a semi-competent “news” service.
<i>On average, 213,000 cars catch fire every year in the United States, which is about 600 car fires per day …</i>
So … barely news.
6. What is the number per unit (213k out of how many ICE vehicles)?
7. How many of those ICE vehicles spontaneously combusted?
#7 seems to be a big one to me. I don’t have to worry about my ICE vehicles suddenly bursting into flame while sitting in my garage.
It was some years ago, so my memory is foggy (can’t even recall whether it was Ford or Government Motors) – but there were some ICE vehicles that set themselves on fire just sitting there.
Some defect in the electrical systems (my memory says the cruise control?) Electricity is just like fire: a useful servant MOST of the time. Many a house fire has been traced back to substandard wiring.
I’m pretty sure that EV’s also have electrical wiring. At best, wiring caused fires would be a wash between ICE and EV.
Not only are there many more ICE cars on the road compared to EV fleet, but the average age of the ICE fleet is a lot older.
(They’ve been selling ICE cars for a long time, while the electric cars are a new fad.)
ICE vehicle fires do not release HF gas and psychoactive lithium vapors.
Say what? I’d like to get me some of those vapors!
psychoactive lithium vapours? Far out…
Duh…. hotter and longer than those that DON’T involve EV batteries. And your 213,000 cars catch fire stat is waaaay misleading… they caught fire from what… an accident? Cigarette? A flame thrower? This story appears to be about an EV which spontaneously caught fire, which I’d wager is quite different than most cars in the 213,000 stat mentioned caught fire. Come on man.
Looking into the article they were parked at recharging kiosks in the storage lot sooo probably being charged
I wouldn’t take carsmetric very seriously. They claim that “Based on our study, estimated 3-5 electric cars catch fire while charging in the period 2019-2022”.
Looks like 3 F150’s filled the entire 2023 slot.
Update! From Statista …. likely a more reliable source of data …
In 2021, there were around 174,000 highway vehicle fires reported in the United States. This is a slight increase from the previous year, where there were 173,000 highway vehicle fires reported across the country.
Still lots more than EV fires — and of course that’s because there are lots more IC cars than EV cars on the road. My point was that any single car fire is not news for anyone other than the owner of the car and any occupants. CAR FIRES ARE NOT NEWS!
And now there’s this …
Fully electric vehicles, on the other hand, were deemed far safer than both hybirds and gas cars; they are far less likely to catch fire, with just 25.1 fires per 100,000 sales. That’s compared to 3,474 hybrid fires and 1,529 ICE fires per 100,000 sales respectively.
Don’t know about the numbers — in the automotive business numbers are usually “per vehicle mile” or some such and I’m not familiar with the source but food for thought.
These EVs burned up before they could be sold and took out a cargo ship to boot.
The evidence is at the bottom of the ocean, but we do know that the fire could not be contained and the crew had to be evacuated. Virtually all of the cars burned up, oh that sinking feeling.
Batteries have an anode and cathode, redox reactants. This results in the disadvantage that no external oxygen is needed to support a fire. It also makes them heavy. It’s actually very beneficial that airplanes for example lose weight as they consume fuel.
Anyway, hydrocarbon fires can be extinguished by starving the fuel of oxygen, and of course ICE vehicles can be shipped without being filled with fuel, not so with EVs.
ICE vehicles do not have a habit of spontaneously combusting, not so with EVs. Middle of the night fires are known to occur and this is the reason that several EV manufacturers do not recommend keeping EVs in garages.
As a chemist, I could not sleep well with an EV in my garage.
Contrary to contrarians, they then stopped allowing EVs on ferries.
Blanket ban on EVs by Norwegian ferry line – Energy Storage Journal
If EVs are no longer allowed on ferries, how does Porsche get their EVs from factories in Europe to their dealers in the US? I doubt that they are shipping them by air.
And if they were to ship them by air, they might do it on aircraft that use … wait for it … lithium-ion batteries.
A Look Back: How Boeing Overcame The 787’s Battery Problemshttps://simpleflying.com/boeing-787-battery-problems-overcome/
I’m going out on a limb and guess that you don’t know the difference between a ferry and a carrier.
How many decades it took before the Titanic loss was blamed on coal?
It still isn’t. That’s a theory supported by a small number of people.
Even if the theory of the bunker fire is correct, it still couldn’t be the cause of the Titanic sinking. The first 5 water tight compartments were breached by the ice berg. Coal was only in the 5th of these compartments. Even if this 5th compartment was the one that was on fire, at worst it would have made the leak in the 5th compartment a little bit worse. Even if the 5th compartment hadn’t been breached, the leaks in the first 4 compartments would have been enough to sink the Titanic.
In 2021, there were around 174,000 highway vehicle fires
How many ICE vehicles burst into flame while parked?
Parked …at night…in the garage
How many EVs were involved in highway vehicle fires?
Is this article about a HIGHWAY vehicle fire?
ICE’s are a lot older than EV’s. The EV’s for the most part are just putt around town vehicles. Why not compare like to like?
That sounds like bullshit to me
Thank you for your well-reasoned and inciteful comment.
There’s no comparison between an EV fire and an ICE fire. That would be like comparing the effects of being attacked by a pit bull or Rottweiler as opposed to a toy poodle….
Actually, last time I looked, Labrador retrievers were the top biters, but for sheer devastating injury and deaths they aren’t even close to the top of the list. That’s because dogs that are bred for fighting will often literally fight to the death. Often they can only be stopped in their attack by killing them. While Labs are large dogs, they are weak biters, having been bred to retrieve shot birds. Being bitten by one will get you a visit to urgent care, an band aid and and a tetanus shot. Being bitten by the other could land you in the ER or worse….
Same thing with an EV battery – it will keep on burning and burning until it exhausts itself and dies. While an ICE car fire is like the little dog you can kick out of the way if it bites you. In other words, one is much harder to control and deal with, despite the fact of it being far less common.
“While an ICE car fire is like the little dog you can kick out of the way if it bites you.”
An ICE car with a ruptured fuel tank (secondary to an accident) has nothing in common with a toy poodle.
Hollywood notwithstanding, petrol (gasoline) has quite a small fuel/air flammability range, and an even smaller explosive range. I’m not going to weld a partially full petrol tank, though.
Check out a few Mythbusters segments on how film crews get those fuel fires and explosions to work.
Ruptured gas tanks rarely catch fire, and if they do, the fires are easy to put out.
That EVs catch fire less often than IC engines carrying fuel is still news
They shouldnt be catching fire at all as they dont carry a liquid fuel
Just like houses shouldn’t catch fire at all because they don’t contain a liquid fuel.
How many houses spontaneously combust?
You mean that they catch fire or explode because of a gas leak (Boom!) or electrical short in the 240 line “installed” by some non-licensed untrained “electrician” so that their second-hand drier or electric stove would work. Or the gas heater they cobbled up in the un-heated addition or garage?
Amazing how far you go to avoid the issue. None of those are even vaguely comparable and you know it. Every example you give is due to someone doing something incorrectly and not according to specifications (i.e. code). – in other words, outside forces.
Also, you still haven’t answered the question about ICE cars.
Buildings that explode due to gas leaks are probably less than a dozen a year. Houses that catch fire due to electrical problems are also very, very small.
If you want to descend into including amateur modifications, why not include amateur modifications to EVs? Or are you just getting that desperate to change the subject?
Not exactly disagreeing, Mark, but from my experience electrical problems have been the most common cause of house fires I’ve been to.
BUT – it’s almost always due to overloading circuits or plugging in appliances with faulty wires or other similar issues. So far I’ve never encountered one where the internal wiring just started on its own, without a proximate external cause.
Catch fire spontaneously?
In addition to the corrrections others have give, there is also the fact that the vast majority of ICE fires occur after an accident or from electrical shorts.
EV’s tend to catch fire just from being charged, they also have more wiring with more power being handled than ICE cars have.
I’m shocked, shocked to learn that these fires are happening!
Round up the usual suspects!
What would be the suspects in EV fires’ classification? Lithiomaniacs.
I can’t wait to have one parked in my garage!
Don’t tell your insurance company about it… Or the solar panels on your roof or the Li-ion battery pack bolted onto the side of the house.
The only thing that went wrong is that all those pieces of crap did not burn.
The name “Lightning” seems quite ironic now.
And don’t park them next to oil storage facilities or pipelines in an oil state presenting itself as something else.
Move over Thor: Ford’s Lightning EV heading to Norway (yahoo.com)
My only question is how much CO2 is released into the atmosphere when an electric car goes up in flames? Is that number ever considered in the calculations of how emissions are supposedly reduced?
The CO2 isn’t the problem …
its all the toxic chemical cocktail; never ever be downwind without a BA set
Ford, in early February, halted production and shipments of its electric F-150 Lightning because of the battery fires.
The photo appears to be in a “holding” lot:
What’s going to happen when we get some government agency with a parking garage full of electric vehicles, and one of them catches fire? It’s not going to be pretty.
Will insurance companies cover parking garages full of electric vehicles? I saw a story a couple of days ago about how engineers were thinking some parking garages were not strong enough to support a bunch of electric vehicles parked there, and then a day or two later, I see where a New York City parking garage collapsed. I wonder if there were any electric vehicles in there on the top floor?
I think the problems with EV’s are just going to escalate as we go deeper into this unnecessary experiment.
“What’s going to happen…”, Google “Felicity Ace”.
“Risk” is defined by Consequences times Likelihood. EV battery packs are made up of thousands of individual cells. A defect or damage to a single cell that causes a short circuit can start a fire that cascades to neighboring cells and ultimately the entire pack. It takes an incredibly high level of production quality control to reduce the risk to an acceptable level. I’m not sure that that level has been achieved or is even achievable.
“What’s going to happen when we get some government agency with a parking garage full of electric vehicles, and one of them catches fire? It’s not going to be pretty.”
It’s not like fire departments and insurance companies and building inspectors don’t plan for these events or work to prevent them. A single gasoline powered car on fire (or an EV car on fire) inside a parking structure can, if the structure isn’t built to code and well maintained, bring the whole structure down. This is why the local fire officials and insurance underwriters regularly inspect such buildings. No inspection (or fail an inspection), no insurance. No insurance, no loan.
Does anyone else ever notice that people with an agenda first ignore, then excuse the additional deaths and destruction that arise from their chosen policies?
Yes, we DO plan for these sort of things. It’s called a “pre-plan” and it’s something we have for every commercial building in our district.
The difference, that you refuse to acknowledge, is that ICE fires can be much more easily extinguished, EVEN IF it has spread significantly. If you have a dozen cars on fire, it may take a few thousand gallons and foam, but you can put it out. That’s not an option with EVs.
If we can mandate that ALL government buildings have multiple floors of underground parking it will either reduce the number of the criminally insane infesting our institutions or it will do away with EV mandates very quickly! Sounds like a real win-win!
On the contrary, that could be quite BEAUTIFUL – depending on the agency.
Along the same line, here is a video of a man being injured in a “brutal accident at an EV charging station when an electric vehicle explodes.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtnZudlnYiA
Not sure if that was an EV explosion or just an exploding EV. Usually battery explosions are accompanied by Fire blowing like jet engines.
This looked more like a pressurized tank exploded
Looks like a stationary starship.
Agree. This was mentioned in the comments to the video but Danley Wolfe either didn’t read the comments or ignored them because they didn’t confirm his bias.
I’ve seen batteries that rupture without catching fire.
I don’t remember what the technology of those batteries were.
It’s not about replacing ICE vehicles. It’s about getting Americans out of personal transportation.
Exactly! This point MUST be “Hammered” into the Public Conscience… MERCILESSLY!
Who is doing this and why? What will happen to the millions employed designing, manufacturing, distributing and servicing today’s personal transportation?
What makes you think that those pushing this nonsense care about that?
They call this EV the Ford F150 Lightening?
Maybe they should rename it the Ford F150 Blazer?
(Oh wait. Chevy already uses that name.)
Where are these new EV’s going to be repaired? I asked the manager
at a local diesel repair shop if he planned on working on these new
EV types of equipment and his response was an emphatic “hell no” He’s
a member at a local rural volunteer fire department and the subject
of EV fires was evidently being discussed and he want’s nothing to do
with the EV equipment. I’ve seen engine fires on pickups put out with
small fire extinguishers a couple of times and always have one in the cab
but these new EV battery fires are serious, they can’t be put out.
they can’t be put out.
Further, there are electrocution issues preventing tow-away, etc..
“If there was a fire department anywhere in the world equipped, trained, and prepared to handle the situation on the 101 that morning, it was the Mountain View Fire Department. The Bay-area city of 80,000 is in the heart of Silicon Valley ***
… firefighters shot copious amounts of water directly at the flaming battery, and extinguished the fire in a couple of minutes. … But the severed battery continued to hiss and pop [there was a] … massive amount of energy still clearly trapped in the unstable battery.
The tow company refused to load the hissing car onto a flatbed for fear of electrocution.
… a team of [local] Tesla engineers arrived at the crash site … The engineers began the laborious task of disassembling the damaged battery cell by cell, dropping each into a bucket of water.
The six-lane 101 remained closed for six hours as Tesla employees removed the exposed portion of the battery and isolated the exposed high-voltage wiring, while firefighters provided water as necessary to keep the fire from reigniting.
With about a quarter of the battery removed, it was agreed that the car was safe to transport to an impound yard … During the ride, what was left of the car’s battery continued to pop like a firecracker.
At the impound, the vehicle’s battery ignited twice within the first 24 hours, and the salvage yard operator had to call San Mateo firefighters to assist.
The following Thursday, six days after the initial crash, the battery reignited yet again. *** “
(Source: NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Journal, https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/NFPA-Journal/2020/January-February-2020/Features/EV-Stranded-Energy )
Perhaps they should use fire extinguishers loaded with prosperous or magnesium to get the dam fire over with! 😎
If you get sprayed with prosperous, do you immediately become wealthy, or does the effect take awhile to kick in?
Your tax dollars at work?
Typos and spell check don’t always mix well!
I always thought kerosene would be a better fuel for cars; higher energy density, harder to ignite making it safer in a crash and safer to store. But there is probably something I’m overlooking…
Sounds like diesel.
Diesel is remarkably close to kerosene, and Avjet, just with different additives.
As is lamp oil and paraffin.
Diesel engines will run on jet A1 (kerosene ) done it for long life if the injector pumps it pays to add 1% engine oil , other than that the run OK
A lot of tractors used to run on kerosene. That was power kerosene, though, not lighting kerosene.
They won’t start on kero while cold, so there is a small auxiliary fuel tank to start them on petrol and let them warm up, then switch the fuel feed over to the main kerosene tank.
From memory, the octane rating is quite low. Those engines had a compression ratio around 6:1
You can have your $7,500 tax credit but it will cost you your house and means of transportation and maybe your neighbor’s house. Better take the bus or skateboard like they are pressing you to do anyway.
Data from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services shows there were 60 fires relating to solar panels last year — 37 of those were believed to have been caused by isolators. [story tip]
Who doesn’t want a mobile toxic waste dump that randomly erupts in uncontrollable fire spewing incredibly harmful smoke?
As far as I know, they blamed the battery manufacturer.
Unless the battery was damaged during shipping or while the car was being assembled, then Ford is probably correct about that.
I have a new term for EVs: intermittent transportation.
I rented a Tesla Model Y yesterday – a last minute transport option for a previously planned trip to a Napa wine tour where my expected transport didn’t happen.
The entire experience was a nightmare from start to finish.
Let’s start with range: the Model Y was 50% charged to start with. This meant I could get to the winery, but not back.
After the tour, I found an EVGo charging station – but the rental company lied when they said there were adapters in the car. No go.
I then hunted around and found a Tesla charging station. But this required me to install an app – which took a good 30 minutes in Napa cell bandwidth. Then to add credit card payment information – this took another 15 minutes because there are 3 different sections to add a credit card but only 1 is correct. And the address/billing info is in a different section.
Then the charging itself: 1.5 hours at lunch only charged up from 19% to 33% – enough to get me back home – but of course I must return the car charged to 50%.
After dropping the wife off – I then went in search of a Tesla “Supercharger”. The only supercharger location in my half of the city – it is a valet only parking structure so I got to pay for parking while the vehicle charged. The “Fast” charger brought the vehicle from 9% to 53% (some margin added) in 30 minutes plus valet in/out.
Then looking through the app – Tesla’s own data shows an average of $0.55 per kWh charged via Supercharger. Given that I put in around 45-50 kWh for this trip of 140-160 miles, the price I am paying for electricity is only slightly less than for gas.
With the parking charge, it was more.
After adding in the 2 different charging station trips, 2 hour plus total wait for charging (for an 8:30 am to 5 pm rental extended to 7:30 pm because of the f’ing charging), the 45 minutes of app install and setup, the hassle – never in a million years will I ever, ever, ever rent an electric vehicle again.
I thank the Lord that my previous consideration to rent an EV to visit my mother – who lives 200 miles away – didn’t happen. This F’ing nightmare was for a trip of only 70 miles each way…
For rentals – this is an outright scam from the get-go.
For home users, it is clear that extremely careful management is required to use these things for anything but trips to/from work and the grocery store. And work has to be a white collar office job – a salesmen going from customer to customer couldn’t do it; a delivery guy or ride share couldn’d do it, etc etc.
Intermittent Transportation to go along with Intermittent Grid Electricity is unquestionably a reduction in standards of living even beyond the trillions of money spent to date and in the near future.
Lots of Uber drivers use Teslas…
As an ICE child I was amazed to see Tesla battery packs are made of thousands of AA on steroid batteries. Seems the more you have of one thing the odds will say there will be an error in one of them.
Tesla and all other lithium ion battery manufacturers do this on purpose. It’s a manufacturing limitation, not a design element. Lithium ion cells do not recharge well when their amp/hour ratings are increased beyond a few milliwatts per cell. So they are stuck with the series and parallel connections of smaller units instead.
The other issue is that a single LiIon cell only generates a bit more than 2V per cell. To get the kind of voltages needed to power an EV motor, you need well over 100 of these cells mounted in series. If a single one of these cells dies, then the entire string becomes useless. Because of this they will design the power packs to have many such strings. That way if one of the strings dies, they only lose a small portion of battery capacity.
Then there is the issue of current mentioned by doonman.
My brother-in-law bought one of these to go along with their Kia Soul EV despite my pleading with them not to. At least they have the sense not to park them in the garage, but the cars are still in the driveway and I pray they do not become a casualty of this very thing.