04.9 EV battery fire suppression
How do emergency responders suppress a traction battery fire?
In researching global incidents & discussions with international fire agencies & battery experts, best practice suppression was the use of water.
At an EV fire, large volumes of water, sustained over an extended period, is the best way to suppress flames & cool the traction battery
As the transition to electric vehicles accelerates, new products are coming onto the market, some of which we look at here.
What are the challenges of suppression?
Unlike an internal combustion engine vehicle, on which flames are relatively easy to size up & suppress, an EV traction battery fire has main challenge; thermal runaway occurs within a battery cell, which is located within a battery module & pack.
We previously looked at how a traction battery is constructed, & how it is positioned along the floor pan of an electric vehicle. If a battery cell goes into thermal runaway, this positioning means it's difficult to direct a stream of water directly onto the traction battery to cool it.
Suppression methods - best practice
As with all emerging industries, a range of private sector products are entering the market to form part of the solution for EV traction battery fire suppression.
In addition to large amounts of water being applied for an extended period, these are some other methods being used or undergoing further testing.