Entire EV Bus Fleet SHUT DOWN – Emergency Decision!
(UnitedVoice.com) – Over the last 18 months, the Biden administration has made a strong push to promote the climate benefits of battery-operated vehicles over gas-powered ones. While electric vehicles (EVs) may improve air quality, they aren’t without risk to the environment or safety issues. As manufacturers race to replace traditional gasoline engines, are batteries currently a fire risk?
On Saturday, July 23, a battery powering a public transportation bus in Connecticut caught fire. It engulfed the entire vehicle and sent billows of black smoke into the sky. The incident resulted in the hospitalization of two transit employees and a firefighter as a precaution due to heat exhaustion and smoke exposure. The blaze came just a day after officials praised the passage of the Connecticut Clean Air Act. CTtransit said it’s temporarily pulled its electric bus fleet and put its diesel-powered ones back in service.
Connecticut Transit Pulls Electric Buses From Fleet
CTtransit spokesperson Josh Rickman told the New Haven Register that the transportation authority is committed to rider safety. The company is conducting an intense investigation to ensure public safety before returning its fleet of EV buses to service. Rickman said the last date the defective bus was in service was July 20; the agency didn’t use the vehicle on the day of the fire.
On Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont (D), Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti, and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes praised Connecticut’s state law restricting diesel vehicles. Giulietti emphasized it forces the increased use of EVs in the Constitution State. The commissioner said CTDOT is responsible for approximately 800 buses. The state is replacing traditional diesel-powered vehicles with electric models Giulietti praised as quieter, longer lasting, and cleaner.
Are Electric Vehicle Batteries Prone to Fires?
Experts say there isn’t enough data to conclude that electric batteries are more prone to catch fire than combustible gas engines. Still, the science says that if an EV battery ignites, it’s much more difficult to extinguish than gas or diesel-powered vehicles.
Lithium-ion batteries can catch fire if damaged or because of flawed manufacturing processes. Improper battery system management due to defective computer software might also cause an increased ignition risk.
The organic liquid electrolytes in the batteries make them dangerous. The substance is highly flammable at high temperatures, and once it catches fire, the chemical reaction produces intense heat and continually reignites.
Connecticut officials relayed that 12 electric buses currently operate throughout the state, and CTtransit plans to order 50 more. As manufacturers improve the technology behind vehicle batteries, industry experts say that the fire risk will decline.
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