Posted on 01/02/2019

Adrian Beard, Clariant outlined the fire safety challenges posed by electric vehicles (EVs) and the resulting needs for new flame retardant solutions. Over 3 million EVs were sold worldwide in 2017, expected to rise to 40 million by 2030. This implies radical changes for the whole car industry, e.g. the drive system of EVs has only 200 parts compared to 1200 in a current car. EVs bring specific new fire risks, with high energy concentration in batteries and risk of thermal runaway, difficulties to extinguish, and high voltages in drive and charging cables, components and connectors, including charging stations. Consequently, manufacturers are trending to demand fire resistance specifications, such as UL94-V0 (vertical test) and limiting the risk of short circuiting by high current tracking index (CTI) values. These requirements must be combined with weathering and temperature, water, UV and chemicals resistance, as well as aesthetic quality (including the specific “signal” orange for charging cables and connectors). Advanced phosphorus-based PIN FRs (e.g. phosphinate based) can ensure these demanding specifications, including reactive phosphorus PIN FRs which can ensure minimal fogging and VOC emissions. He concluded with the opportunities for PIN flame retardants: “orange is the new black”.