Finding a parking space will soon become almost impossible for electric car drivers: Due to the risk of fire, the first models must keep a 15 meter safety distance.
Hamburg – Whether in Hamburg, Berlin or Cologne, the search for parking spaces is becoming more and more difficult, especially in large cities. Only recently , the Hamburg Senate increased the fees for resident parking. No wonder that there are many game parkers: The city of Hamburg alone is now making itself stupidly and stupidly through the receipt of fines . For drivers of a certain e-car model, there is now another difficulty: Due to the increased risk of fire, e-cars can only be parked at a safe distance of 15 meters.
- E-cars only park at a safe distance of 15 meters: that’s behind the warning
- Safety parking space for e-cars is a disaster for General Motors: money demanded from the battery manufacturer
- Legal predicament for E-Car owners
- What to do in the event of a breakdown?
- E-car fire hazard: what is a thermal runaway?
- How do fire brigades assess the fire risk?
E-cars only park at a safe distance of 15 meters: that’s behind the warning
For the electric cars from General Motors, maintaining a large safety distance is mandatory. 15 meters – the equivalent of around three parked cars – drivers of Chevrolet’s e-cars will have to keep clear in the future. An undertaking that can lead to difficulties even in a small town turns out to be an almost impossible task in a large city like Hamburg.
The bizarre measure caught General Motors because of a serious problem: The automaker was increasingly receiving news that their brand’s electric cars had gone up in flames. A few weeks ago, General Motors had to call back a Hamburg electric patrol car * due to the risk of fire . Other electric cars and plug-in hybrids followed. In particular, the “Chevrolet Bolt”, the showpiece of General Motors’ electric cars, is affected.
The cause: After technical defects in the electrical system or the charger, three Stromer caught flames. A safe distance when parking is intended to avoid further dangers in the future. In Hamburg, for example, it is particularly difficult, as parking on the sidewalk should now also be punished more *. In addition, vehicle owners were urged not to park their e-cars in garages and not to charge their cars completely. Under certain circumstances, the battery could easily ignite.
Safety parking space for e-cars is a disaster for General Motors: money demanded from the battery manufacturer
However, a case in the US state of Georgia showed that not everyone adheres to this guideline. An e-car driver of a “Chevrolet Bolt” left his car in the garage. Not a good idea: a little later, the entire garage burned down. The fire brigade was only able to prevent the neighboring house from catching fire at the last second. General Motors has already admitted that ten more fires have been reported to the automaker. The US traffic safety authority “NHTSA” speaks meanwhile of at least thirteen reports of this kind.
In addition to the “Chevrolet Bolt”, the “Opel Ampera-e” is also affected by the recall. Even if the latter model was bought much less often, it is already a disaster for the major automaker. As “Focus” reports, the E-car recall costs General Motors about one billion US dollars. An amount that the company now wants to get back from battery manufacturer LG Chem.
Legal predicament for E-Car owners
The more electric cars are on the road, the hotter the discussion about safety becomes: What happens after an accident? Does the battery go up in flames? The most important answers and crash test results.
- Regardless of the drive: high safety requirements for all cars
- The critical point in the accident: the deformation of the battery
- No electric car has failed in the Euro NCAP crash tests
- Breakdown helpers and rescue workers need special training
The basic rule is: All cars that are approved must meet legal requirements that are intended to guarantee the highest level of safety for drivers – regardless of whether a vehicle is powered by gasoline or diesel, natural or liquefied gas or even with a battery.
In the case of electric cars in particular, this means that the electrical components must be designed to be “intrinsically safe”. Intrinsically safe means that the current flow of the battery is stopped if a defect occurs in the system. In plain language: if there is an accident, for example, the battery is immediately and automatically separated from the other high-voltage components and the high-voltage cables so that there is no longer any voltage.
What to do in the event of a breakdown?
In the event of a breakdown, there is usually no electrical hazard, as the electric cars are system-related and protected by measures taken by the manufacturer. The roadside assistance is in principle possible . For safety reasons, however, work on electric cars may only be carried out by people who have been trained for this work – such as the ADAC Yellow Angels . For everyone else, hands off the high-voltage components and all orange cables!
E-car fire hazard: what is a thermal runaway?
It can become critical as soon as the protective mechanisms of the drive battery are deformed and thus impaired as a result of a serious accident. In the worst case, the cells in the drive battery can “run away”. That would be the so-called “thermal runaway” : Then the drive battery burns and has to be extinguished by the fire brigade with plenty of water. A self-ignition of an electric car without external exposure-ending driving, standing or loading due to a technical defect is extremely rare.
How do fire brigades assess the fire risk?
The working group of the heads of the professional fire brigades and the German Fire Brigade Association also state in their recommendations for “Risk assessment of lithium-ion
storage media” that electric cars do not differ from combustion vehicles with regard to the risk assessment.
Experiments by the fire services have shown that the fire intensity does not depend on the type of drive, but is related to the materials used (especially plastics). The greater proportion of these materials in modern vehicles is the decisive factor for increased smoke and heat release compared to before. If they are certified and professionally installed, charging devices can also be operated in underground garages without hesitation.
A temporary entry ban for electric and hybrid vehicles for an underground car park in the city of Kulmbach was lifted after the fire brigade had been provided with special fire fighting equipment.
In principle, it can never be completely ruled out that a vehicle will ignite itself due to a defect – but this applies to all types of drive. There is no evidence whatsoever that electric cars, with or without the effects of an accident, are more likely to burn than cars with internal combustion engines. Concerns are also unfounded about particular risks when charging of an electric car in an underground car park, provided the electrical installation of the charging points has been professionally installed and maintained.
The general rule for all types of drive is that fire protection plays a major role and that adequate extinguishing devices and smoke extraction systems should be available. Good accessibility to the property or the underground car park must also be guaranteed.