If you own an electric car, truck or SUV, you are doing your part to help the environment. You also never have to worry about rising fuel prices. Still, even if you have an electric vehicle with a five-star safety rating, your car may burst into flames after an accident.
Damaged lithium-ion batteries are combustible. Even worse, because of unspent energy inside these batteries, they may reignite after the flames seem to be gone. Alarmingly, first responders may not know how to extinguish electric vehicle fires quickly and safely.
Little information from vehicle manufacturers
Electric vehicle manufacturers usually devote significant time and resources to testing the cars they sell. During these tests, manufacturers often collect data on lithium-ion battery fires. According to International Fire Chiefs Association, though, manufacturers have been slow to share their data with first responders.
The official protocol
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes protocols for first responders to follow when responding to electric vehicle fires. Because the NHTSA does not receive much information from vehicle manufacturers, however, these protocols may not be sufficient to extinguish fires on all models of electric vehicles.
Your personal safety
If the strategy firefighters use to extinguish flames on your electric vehicle is the wrong one, you may suffer catastrophic burn injuries. These injuries may be in addition to any injuries you suffered in the initial accident, sadly. Therefore, to keep you and others safe, manufacturers of electric vehicles should work with first responders to develop vehicle-specific fire protocols.
Ultimately, if you sustain injuries in an electric vehicle fire, you may have grounds to pursue substantial financial compensation.