Study reveals hybrid cars are more likely to catch fire than petrol and EVs
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A new study has found that hybrid cars are the most likely to catch fire, and EVs have the lowest risk.
AutoinsuranceEZ used data collected from the National Transportation Safety Board, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, and government recall data from recalls.gov for the study, which found that there were only 52 EV fires in the US in 2021. This is compared to 16,051 hybrid vehicle fires and 199,533 fires for combustion (petrol and diesel) vehicles over the same period.
You may be wondering why hybrid cars came back as the highest risk for fire, when the total combustion car fires is significantly higher. But remember, there are far more combustion vehicles on the roads than hybrid and EV. So, the study looks at fires per 100,000 vehicle sales.
The rate of fires per 100,000 combustion vehicles is 1,529.9, which compares to 3,474.5 hybrid vehicle fires per 100,000. Electric vehicles have the least risk, according to the study, with just 25.1 fires per 100,000 vehicles sold.
When it comes to the biggest reason behind vehicle fires, for combustion cars, the answer is collision. According to data from the National Fire Prevention Association, it's estimated that 560 people died in car fires in 2018, with most of the fires caused by collisions.
But for electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles, fires are mostly caused by batteries. Battery fires are harder to put out than gas fires, and the fires are typically caused by an issue inside the battery pack. Recently, the Chevrolet Bolt was making headlines, as fires were being widely reported. GM, after struggling to produce a reason behind the fires, eventually identified two defects, a “torn anode” and a “folded separator,” in the battery pack.
While these issues have led some to believe that EVs are flawed and dangerous, recalls actually happen far less frequently than hybrid and combustion vehicles.