top of page

05.3 EV ABC - EV Assessment of Battery Condition

After an incident, how do we know if an EV battery is going to catch fire?

The likelihood of an EV battery going into thermal runaway after an incident such as collision or submersion is difficult to determine. 

If an EV is in an incident where high voltage systems have NOT shut down:

  • It may be possible to use a digital diagnostic tool to check battery state of health

  • However, such tools are in the early stages of development and testing & may not be appropriate for determining fire risk

  • EV FireSafe will be testing diagnostic tools in 2024 to provide clarity 

Where EV HV systems HAVE shut down:

  • Airbags have deployed

  • Manual isolations have been cut or pulled by responders

There is no current method to predict & mitigate risk of battery fire.


To assist, EV FireSafe has developed the EV ABC.

What is EV FireSafe's EV ABC?

EV FireSafe's EV ABC is a points based system which has been developed using:

  • EV FireSafe's Department of Defence funded research & global EV battery fire incident database

  • Our EV risk hierarchy, developed by our team

  • Real world incidents our team have attended

  • Case studies of real world incidents not attended


Once scored, users can determine how the EV should be handled by responders, tow drivers, repairers, salvage & wreckers, or through the process of fire investigation, forensics or impounding.

EV ABC EV FireSafe EV fire risk matrix.png

What is the EV ABC looking for?

When using the EV ABC, points are awarded based on factors such as:

  • Amount of physical damage to battery cells

    • Is there damage to the battery pack or exposed HV cables?​

  • Amount of potential damage to cells

    • Has the EV been submerged in water for an extended period?​

  • Damage caused during emergency response

    • Have cutting or firefighting activities put pressure on the battery pack, or allowed water to ingress into the pack?​

  • Vehicle make, model & background

    • Is the EV on recall for battery fire risk?​

How does EV ABC work?

For emergency responders:

EV FireSafe is developing EV ABC guidance for firefighters, police, paramedics & road rescuers that provides basic steps for an initial 'at a glance' dynamic risk assessment to assist with responder safety at incidents involving EVs in collision, fire & battery fire.

For tow, salvage, wrecking, fleet managers & business:

EV ABC can be adapted by our team, provided as a workflow &/or incorporated into internal digital processes, & can assist with rollout. Additionally, we can build online or in-person training to familiarise users.

Adaption of EV FireSafe's EV ABC is currently only available as part of a consulting package. For more details please contact our Director, Emma Sutcliffe, at

bottom of page