RESEARCH PROJECT ON ELECTRIC AND HYBRID VEHICLE FIRE RISKS
Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection is contributing to a research project funded by Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova – Strategic vehicle research and innovation (FFI), where risks posed by lithium-ion vehicle batteries will be addressed and investigated. RISE Research Institutes of Sweden initiated this project focusing on how fire risks posed by lithium-ion batteries in vehicles should be managed.
A growing number of electric and hybrid vehicles are driving on our roads. Knowledge on the risks associated with these vehicles with new energy carriers is limited. A vehicle fire is often extremely intense and can have significant safety and environmental consequences. For buses with combustion engines new regulations will come into place next year onwards. Already it is mandatory to install fire suppression systems in new vehicle types of single-deck, double-deck, rigid or articulated vehicles of category M2 or M3 and specifically vehicles having a capacity exceeding 22 passengers in addition to the driver. For Class III vehicles it will apply as of July 11, 2019. The requirement applies in the case of vehicles having an internal combustion engine or a combustion heater located to the rear of the driver's compartment. As of September 1st, 2021, it will also apply to all new Class I and Class II vehicles.
In this “electric” research project are also participating RISE, Scania, the Swedish Association of Vehicle Workshops (SFVF), NEVS and Fogmaker. “We will map the fire risks associated with lithium-ion batteries and mitigating the consequences of fires in electric and hybrid vehicles,” says Johan Balstad, Business Area Manager, Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection AB. “Fire risks related to battery spaces, including specific risks when charging and procedures for handling electric vehicles and batteries after a crash, bearing in mind the risk of fire at a later stage, will be studied. This work will lead to future safety solutions, including system design and battery placement. Our focus of this project will be to investigate the extent to which fixed/integrated fire suppression systems, that are widely used to protect engine compartments on heavy vehicles, can be applied to vehicles powered by li-ion batteries, as well as how the systems should be designed. We hope that it will be possible to leverage existing resources to reduce the fire risks – as an example, 94% of all public transport buses in Sweden already have fixed fire suppression systems installed.”