electric vehicles plugged in

Last Friday, General Motors announced a new memory for Bolt Electric’s vehicles due to damaged batteries and fire hazards. The note builds on previous ads, adding more than 73,000 vehicles in the United States and Canada. All told, the latest recollection is that all Bolt electric vehicles will return to the GM, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSA).

The Associated Press puts the total number of burn fires at 10.

General Motors said in a statement that the issues are with LG batteries that power the vehicles and that in “rare” cases, one battery cell may have two different problems. The carmaker has a set of instructions for Bolt Owners, including protection against over 90 percent of the vehicle and precautionary measures at night and at home (in the garage).

Fires in electric vehicles are known to be the first major fires that firefighters are trying to extinguish, which means it could be a threat to current- or future-electric-vehicle owners. Here you will find out how batteries work, how their safety is stored on internal combustion engines and why current news is not a cause for alarm.

Why do batteries go out?

Lithium-ion batteries power gadgets such as your smartphone and laptop. And to a large extent, Li-ion cells include battery packs that give EV the ability to travel on the road. But just because they are everywhere does not mean that they are easy to work with. “It’s very difficult to make a battery that works well,” says Greg Leiss, technical director at the University of Michigan Battery Laboratory.

What makes them cunning is the time when they can fall in part. “If the battery is bad, it could die out of control,” he says. That is enough to identify a manufacturer. The hardest thing is that sometimes these mistakes – as we see in Bolt – do not appear immediately.

[Related: Electric vehicle fires are rare, but challenging to extinguish]

Those problems can appear over the years, after a vehicle has been adequately stopped on the road, or if the temperature has changed enough or to reveal a problem. “No matter what happens to a magical event, it doesn’t happen in the factory, so you never know when a cell is bad in a vehicle or in the world.

In this case, it seems that some percentage of cells from LG devices may have two defects – “This problem seems to be related to a torn anode tab and a folded label.” Those two problems can work together in a negative way, to a lesser extent. When things go well, everything goes wrong.

So are EVs more dangerous?

EV fires are serious and surprising, but of course electric cars are not the only type of vehicle to start burning: gasoline or traditional diesel-powered engines, too. In fact, Tesla claims that non-Tesla vehicles are about 11 times faster than their electric cars. (The calculations are as follows: Tesla data comes from US Dot and the National Fire Protection Association. Miles a fire.)

A.D. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported a dramatic difference between the two. It states: “The flammable electrolyte fluids used in the Li-ion battery system are slightly proportional or perhaps less than the tendency and severity of sudden fires and explosions.

One of the authors of the report, Stephen Ritzer, a senior researcher at Batelle, says that it is too early to say which vehicle will be exposed to fire. “The final answer is that EVs are more or less likely to fire from ICE vehicles,” he said in an email. To understand if this has changed in the clothing worn on the vehicle / battery, we have to wait until EV is old.

[Related: The Biden administration is going pedal-to-the-metal on electric cars]

“EVs catch fire, but people also forget [cars with] Internal combustion engines, ”he notes less. He says a car fire related to a traditional vehicle will not be heard as news. “EVs are still a very small part of the market, and it still makes headlines when they are on fire.

“When there is a lot of energy stored anywhere – that fuel tank, fireworks for July 4th, or even an electric vehicle, or even your cell phone – that energy is released in some way. They do not want him released. ”

Of course, researchers both want more powerful batteries, so cars are more likely to travel and safer. Almost all the ongoing research in batteries is ‘How do we make them safer?’

[Related: Teslas keep hitting emergency vehicles, and now the government is investigating]

Kim Abraham, a lithium-ion battery consultant and former professor at Northeast University, says lithium-ion batteries have come a long way. From the early 1990s to 2018, a single cell — 18650 — was about 3.5 times more powerful, he said. Meanwhile, he said, the scale has improved from one thousand security issues to one million today. “That’s why we all carry cell phones in our pockets without fear.”