Eight automakers improve emergency response guides for electric vehicle battery fires, NTSB says

WASHINGTON — Eight automakers have improved their electric vehicle emergency response guides and incorporated vehicle-specific details on extinguishing lithium-ion battery fires, following a recommendation last year by a federal agency of security.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Volkswagen and Volvo — as well as electric transit maker Proterra and electric bus maker Van Hool — had completed actions called for in a recommendation issued in January 2021 for 22 car manufacturers.

The agency asked these manufacturers to model their emergency response guides on international safety standards and to include vehicle-specific information on extinguishing electric vehicle battery fires as well as mitigation. thermal runaway and the risk of battery re-ignition.

Twelve automakers, including Ford, General Motors, Tesla and Toyota, are making progress on the recommendation, the agency said. Two others — Nova Bus Corp. and Karma Automotive — have yet to respond to the agency’s voluntary request.

The agency called on the companies to act after a 2020 NTSB safety report found deficiencies in the guidance they provide to emergency personnel responding to electric vehicle battery fires.

“First responders deserve to have the information they need to stay safe when providing care after an accident – ​​and that includes knowing how to put out a high-voltage lithium-ion battery fire,” said the president. of the NTSB, Jennifer Homendy, in a statement. “Our recommendation is a simple yet powerful action that can save the lives of first responders and accident victims.”

Homendy urged the remaining 14 automakers to implement the NTSB’s recommendation “immediately.”

Battery fires have become a growing concern for the auto industry, safety advocates and federal regulators as automakers aim to electrify more of their wallets and bring these vehicles into the mainstream.

In 2020, GM issued — and later expanded — a recall involving every Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV the automaker has built since 2016 for potential battery fires.

The NTSB, which launched investigations into four Tesla EV battery fires in 2017 and 2018, said fires in electric vehicles “pose a shock hazard to emergency responders due to exposure to components. high voltage from a damaged lithium-ion battery”.

Comments are closed.