Why Do Electric Vehicle Batteries Catch Fire? | MotorBiscuit

You’ve probably seen videos of people stabbing cell phone batteries with a knife. First of all, don’t. Please, do not. Not smart. Second, that same principle can apply to electric vehicle batteries, making fires dangerous and hard to put out. Now, with the near-widespread acceptance of our EV future, it’s time to examine what causes these fires, as well as why they’re so difficult and dangerous to put out. Finally, we’ll look at the environmental impact of doing so.

Cell rupture and thermal runaway are key

The individual cells of a Toyota battery | Toshifumi Kitamura via Getty Images

An electric vehicle battery is made up of a few parts. First, there’s that hard metal shell you see above. Below that is where the batteries and the cooling systems are housed. Evidently, the inside of an electric vehicle battery is not somewhere you want things to get. This rupturing is the key to why the majority of EV fires start, as well as why they’re so hard to get out.

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