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We must put a stop to the electric vehicle revolution – before someone gets hurt


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We must put a stop to the electric vehicle revolution – before someone gets hurt

Allison Pearson
Wed, October 18, 2023 at 2:00 AM CDT·7 min read
 
Electric vehicles

What the blazes is going on? We are familiar with the stand-up rows caused by a chronic lack of charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) but, so far, there has been remarkably little debate about their safety. Manufacturers deny that EVs have an unfortunate tendency to burst into flames, but fire brigades across the world beg to differ. They have taken to producing an amusing annual calendar with a different Tesla in flames for each month of the year. So frequent are these blazes that the ‘Burning Tesla 2024’ calendar is already full.

One wag posted a video of an EV with a small bonfire on the backseat with the caption: “Tesla Holiday Version with built-in fireplace”.

In the past couple of years, two huge ships carrying thousands of cars have gone up in flames, apparently because of battery electric vehicles. A fire on board car carrier Felicity Ace in February 2022 led to the vessel sinking in the Atlantic, along with its cargo of 4,000 vehicles. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries were cited as a factor in keeping the fire ablaze.

More recently, the Fremantle Highway cargo ship caught fire in the North Sea. It was alleged that batteries in EVs on board had overheated. During the salvage operation, all the cars were washed to remove any chemicals from the fire before they came off the ship. One charred vehicle, in which the fire appeared to be extinguished, actually reignited as it was lowered into the water. Investigators were quick to say: “No fire on board a ro-ro [roll on/roll off] or PCTC [Pure Car Truck Carrier] has been proven to have been caused by a factory-new EV.”

It was the same nothing-to-see-here story with the towering inferno this month at Luton airport. At least 125 flights were cancelled after a huge fire, which started on level three of the airport’s multi-storey car park, caused the entire £20 million structure to collapse. Up to 1,500 vehicles are unlikely to be salvageable. A huge deal, you might think. A topic for a heated debate at the very least, particularly as people could have been hurt but, once again, the conflagration has been tamped down. Authorities said the blaze “appeared to have been accidental and began in a parked car, believed to be a diesel vehicle”.

Well, not according to one witness, who managed to snap a picture of the vehicle that was suspected of causing the fire, which looked very like a Range Rover Evoque. There was none of the thick black smoke you would expect with a diesel fire. Instead, the blaze was focused on the front left seat of the car under which – well, I never! – the lithium-ion battery happens to be located in some hybrid Range Rovers.

The aftermath of the fire at Luton airport
 
The aftermath of the fire at Luton airport - John Robertson

It’s not just cars. My gardener friend says he knows of two gazebos that burnt down when the battery pack powering their fairy lights burst into flames, causing third-degree burns to one owner.

Such fires can be fatal. An e-bike left charging is believed to have caused the house fire that tore through a maisonette in Cambridge over the summer, killing a mother and her two young children. The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has warned that e-bike fires are up 60 per cent this year. Firefighters have been called to an e-scooter or e-bike fire every two days since the start of 2023. At least 12 people have died and a further 190 have been injured in suspected e-bike and e-scooter blazes in the UK since 2020. (Data from the London Fire Brigade for 2019 showed an incident rate of 0.04 per cent for petrol and diesel cars fires, while the rate for plug-in vehicles is more than double at 0.1 per cent) The LFB has even started a campaign called #ChargeSafe to alert people to the potential dangers of the bikes’ lithium-ion batteries.

They say there is no smoke without fire, but vested interests are creating as much smoke as possible to obscure the cause of these fires, I reckon. Why? Well, meeting the notably insane and economically disastrous net zero target by 2050 is predicated on the UK giving up fossil fuels. Rishi Sunak recently pushed the ban on new petrol and diesel cars back to 2035, but even meeting that will require a huge number of us to switch to battery electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries. What if those dense concentrations of electrochemical energy and lithium are prone to catching fire unexpectedly or exploding and the ensuing inferno is very hard to put out? To maintain the momentum in decarbonising transport, I would guess it’s rather convenient if that question doesn’t get answered.

Someone who really does know the answer is Professor Peter Edwards. He holds the chair in inorganic chemistry at the University of Oxford and tells me he is extremely worried about the “real danger” posed to the public and emergency services by lithium-ion batteries which were developed by his predecessor in the chair, the late Professor John B Goodenough, the so-called “Father of the Lithium Battery”.

“Lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles can develop unstoppable so-called ‘thermal runaway’ fires which burn uncontrollably,” says Prof Edwards. “As well as intense heat, during a battery fire, numerous toxic gases are emitted, such as hydrogen cyanide and hydrogen fluoride. The emission of these gases can be a larger threat than the heat generated.”

Sounds really good for the atmosphere, doesn’t it? Just to add to the fun, Prof Edwards says a “potential catastrophe” awaits with all the large-scale lithium-ion battery storage sites sprouting up all over the country, especially on solar farms.

“These are not normal fires,” he says of the recent blazes in electric vehicles. “They are triggered and fuelled by an internal chemical reaction that generates and releases a huge amount of heat and, in complete contrast to a conventional fossil fuel car, can continue without a supply of oxygen or indeed a visible flame. Furthermore, the large amount of stored electrical energy presents significant challenges in any attempt to mitigate these battery fires.”

Basically, they’re a bugger to put out. One fire brigade used 20,000 gallons of water to bring a single EV fire under control.

Imagine if an EV were to self-combust in the Channel Tunnel, in an underground car park or in the garage next to your house. It would be disastrous, so where is the official investigation into the safety of these vehicles? Silence.

Prof Edwards believes there is a “concerted campaign” to demonstrate how safe EVs are, regardless of the evidence. “Official statements discounting any possibility of battery fires are issued in unwarranted haste after any such event. One has a clear feeling that any fatalities, injuries and environmental damage are seen as acceptable collateral damage for a transition to a renewable energy future.”

Ironically, the Father of the Lithium Battery foresaw all this. When Prof Edwards was working with Prof Goodenough, he says his Oxford predecessor “did wonder whether safety issues with lithium might preclude the battery’s widespread adoption. Particularly so, given the fire brigade had been called to his laboratory to put out a lithium battery fire... nowadays politely called a thermal runaway event.”

What a fiasco the whole electric car thing has become. Too few charging machines and then too many charging machines out of service, forcing people to drive around for a viable charging point, only to end up calling breakdown services for run-down batteries. The mileage the cars can do is a lot lower than advertised, unless you drive at 20mph (perfect in Wales, but hopeless everywhere else). The cars are too expensive, their second-hand value is risible, the batteries only last about 15 years and cost thousands to replace. If, that is, you get lucky and they don’t burst into flames first.

Towards the end of his distinguished life, the Father of the Lithium Battery told colleagues in Oxford that he didn’t think a mass rollout was wise because of the considerable fire hazard. How lucky we are that our country’s entire future energy strategy isn’t riding on an invention that can explode at will and cause fires it’s impossible to put out…

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Fremantle highway wasn’t cause by an EV.  That has been proven also that parking garage collapse was a 2014 diesel Land Rover.  License plates even prove it.  The lengths people will go to make shit up to fit their agenda is pretty awesome!

 

https://www.theautopian.com/the-strangest-thing-about-the-huge-fire-at-a-british-airport-parking-garage-is-how-people-reacted-to-it/

What’s been especially interesting about all of this has been the online reaction to the cause of the fire, which fire officials have reported as being a diesel Land Rover. Specifically, there’s been a strange sort-of conspiracy theory that the car that started the fire was really an electric vehicle, but the media is lying. And then there’s others who claim the media has been pushing that it was an EV when it wasn’t. It’s all kind of ridiculous, but I guess that’s where society is right now. Oy.

That said, there is actual footage of the car, which, based on a registration plate lookup seems to be a 2014 Range Rover Sport TDV6 SE, which has a 3-liter diesel engine:
The Bedford Fire and Rescue service have confirmed that this is the car suspected to have started the fire. 
From The Independent:

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15 hours ago, XCR1250 said:

We must put a stop to the electric vehicle revolution – before someone gets hurt

Allison Pearson
Wed, October 18, 2023 at 2:00 AM CDT·7 min read
 
Electric vehicles

What the blazes is going on? We are familiar with the stand-up rows caused by a chronic lack of charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) but, so far, there has been remarkably little debate about their safety. Manufacturers deny that EVs have an unfortunate tendency to burst into flames, but fire brigades across the world beg to differ. They have taken to producing an amusing annual calendar with a different Tesla in flames for each month of the year. So frequent are these blazes that the ‘Burning Tesla 2024’ calendar is already full.

One wag posted a video of an EV with a small bonfire on the backseat with the caption: “Tesla Holiday Version with built-in fireplace”.

In the past couple of years, two huge ships carrying thousands of cars have gone up in flames, apparently because of battery electric vehicles. A fire on board car carrier Felicity Ace in February 2022 led to the vessel sinking in the Atlantic, along with its cargo of 4,000 vehicles. Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries were cited as a factor in keeping the fire ablaze.

More recently, the Fremantle Highway cargo ship caught fire in the North Sea. It was alleged that batteries in EVs on board had overheated. During the salvage operation, all the cars were washed to remove any chemicals from the fire before they came off the ship. One charred vehicle, in which the fire appeared to be extinguished, actually reignited as it was lowered into the water. Investigators were quick to say: “No fire on board a ro-ro [roll on/roll off] or PCTC [Pure Car Truck Carrier] has been proven to have been caused by a factory-new EV.”

It was the same nothing-to-see-here story with the towering inferno this month at Luton airport. At least 125 flights were cancelled after a huge fire, which started on level three of the airport’s multi-storey car park, caused the entire £20 million structure to collapse. Up to 1,500 vehicles are unlikely to be salvageable. A huge deal, you might think. A topic for a heated debate at the very least, particularly as people could have been hurt but, once again, the conflagration has been tamped down. Authorities said the blaze “appeared to have been accidental and began in a parked car, believed to be a diesel vehicle”.

Well, not according to one witness, who managed to snap a picture of the vehicle that was suspected of causing the fire, which looked very like a Range Rover Evoque. There was none of the thick black smoke you would expect with a diesel fire. Instead, the blaze was focused on the front left seat of the car under which – well, I never! – the lithium-ion battery happens to be located in some hybrid Range Rovers.

The aftermath of the fire at Luton airport
 
The aftermath of the fire at Luton airport - John Robertson

It’s not just cars. My gardener friend says he knows of two gazebos that burnt down when the battery pack powering their fairy lights burst into flames, causing third-degree burns to one owner.

Such fires can be fatal. An e-bike left charging is believed to have caused the house fire that tore through a maisonette in Cambridge over the summer, killing a mother and her two young children. The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has warned that e-bike fires are up 60 per cent this year. Firefighters have been called to an e-scooter or e-bike fire every two days since the start of 2023. At least 12 people have died and a further 190 have been injured in suspected e-bike and e-scooter blazes in the UK since 2020. (Data from the London Fire Brigade for 2019 showed an incident rate of 0.04 per cent for petrol and diesel cars fires, while the rate for plug-in vehicles is more than double at 0.1 per cent) The LFB has even started a campaign called #ChargeSafe to alert people to the potential dangers of the bikes’ lithium-ion batteries.

They say there is no smoke without fire, but vested interests are creating as much smoke as possible to obscure the cause of these fires, I reckon. Why? Well, meeting the notably insane and economically disastrous net zero target by 2050 is predicated on the UK giving up fossil fuels. Rishi Sunak recently pushed the ban on new petrol and diesel cars back to 2035, but even meeting that will require a huge number of us to switch to battery electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries. What if those dense concentrations of electrochemical energy and lithium are prone to catching fire unexpectedly or exploding and the ensuing inferno is very hard to put out? To maintain the momentum in decarbonising transport, I would guess it’s rather convenient if that question doesn’t get answered.

Someone who really does know the answer is Professor Peter Edwards. He holds the chair in inorganic chemistry at the University of Oxford and tells me he is extremely worried about the “real danger” posed to the public and emergency services by lithium-ion batteries which were developed by his predecessor in the chair, the late Professor John B Goodenough, the so-called “Father of the Lithium Battery”.

“Lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles can develop unstoppable so-called ‘thermal runaway’ fires which burn uncontrollably,” says Prof Edwards. “As well as intense heat, during a battery fire, numerous toxic gases are emitted, such as hydrogen cyanide and hydrogen fluoride. The emission of these gases can be a larger threat than the heat generated.”

Sounds really good for the atmosphere, doesn’t it? Just to add to the fun, Prof Edwards says a “potential catastrophe” awaits with all the large-scale lithium-ion battery storage sites sprouting up all over the country, especially on solar farms.

“These are not normal fires,” he says of the recent blazes in electric vehicles. “They are triggered and fuelled by an internal chemical reaction that generates and releases a huge amount of heat and, in complete contrast to a conventional fossil fuel car, can continue without a supply of oxygen or indeed a visible flame. Furthermore, the large amount of stored electrical energy presents significant challenges in any attempt to mitigate these battery fires.”

Basically, they’re a bugger to put out. One fire brigade used 20,000 gallons of water to bring a single EV fire under control.

Imagine if an EV were to self-combust in the Channel Tunnel, in an underground car park or in the garage next to your house. It would be disastrous, so where is the official investigation into the safety of these vehicles? Silence.

Prof Edwards believes there is a “concerted campaign” to demonstrate how safe EVs are, regardless of the evidence. “Official statements discounting any possibility of battery fires are issued in unwarranted haste after any such event. One has a clear feeling that any fatalities, injuries and environmental damage are seen as acceptable collateral damage for a transition to a renewable energy future.”

Ironically, the Father of the Lithium Battery foresaw all this. When Prof Edwards was working with Prof Goodenough, he says his Oxford predecessor “did wonder whether safety issues with lithium might preclude the battery’s widespread adoption. Particularly so, given the fire brigade had been called to his laboratory to put out a lithium battery fire... nowadays politely called a thermal runaway event.”

What a fiasco the whole electric car thing has become. Too few charging machines and then too many charging machines out of service, forcing people to drive around for a viable charging point, only to end up calling breakdown services for run-down batteries. The mileage the cars can do is a lot lower than advertised, unless you drive at 20mph (perfect in Wales, but hopeless everywhere else). The cars are too expensive, their second-hand value is risible, the batteries only last about 15 years and cost thousands to replace. If, that is, you get lucky and they don’t burst into flames first.

Towards the end of his distinguished life, the Father of the Lithium Battery told colleagues in Oxford that he didn’t think a mass rollout was wise because of the considerable fire hazard. How lucky we are that our country’s entire future energy strategy isn’t riding on an invention that can explode at will and cause fires it’s impossible to put out…

I know the excited right like to be scared of everything,  electric cars, trans folks, Dems gunna take yer guns .  But really you should like ev’s they don’t have trannies so you have less to be frightened about. 

Edited by revkevsdi
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