Posted on 08/12/2020

pinfa and European Fire Safety Week : Energy transition in transports

19 November 2020 (Webinar)

It is estimated that around one third of the world car market will be electric or hybrid by 2030. This has important implications for rescue services on the road (accidents, fires in e-vehicles) and brings specific new fire safety risks in buildings (related to batteries in parked vehicles, to charging …).

Fires in existing road vehicles are already an issue, with (e.g.) over 200 000 vehicle fires, causing 560 deaths, 1 500 injuries and nearly 2 billion US$ property damage in the USA alone (coherent fire statistics are not collected at the European level). Fire risks are accentuated by increasing use of modern materials (polymers, composites, carbon fibres …) to reduce vehicle weight and so improve energy efficiency, and with increasingly complex electronics, including potentially in the future with self-driving, 5G cars.

Fire safety is critical in public transport. There are strict fire safety requirements in trains, metro systems and aircraft (but not today in coaches and buses) because of the difficulty to escape and the numbers of people present in transit buildings.

Electrical and hybrid road vehicles bring new and increased fire safety risks: battery fires started either by mechanical damage in accidents or by battery electrical faults or “runaway”, high amperage vehicle cables and connectors for drive systems and specific fire risks related to charging systems in buildings (high power cables and connectors, risk of battery overheating or overcharging). Battery fires in vehicles parked or charging pose particular dangers and fire fighting challenges in buildings.

The objectives of this webinar are to:

  • Understand the specific new fire risks of electric and hybrid vehicles, both on the road and in buildings.
  • See approaches developed by the car industry and suppliers to address these risks
  • Discuss policy actions and research needs




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