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Problems with overcharging electric cars


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How do you know it was over-charging that caused to incident?

Could have been an electrical fault in the vehicle circuit? A short of some sort, from moisture ingress?

Nasty all the same. I wonder how the insurance works out for this. Does the recharge station have cover for this or some clause that absolves them from blame?

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7 minutes ago, NemesisUK said:

How do you know it was over-charging that caused to incident?

I don't know for sure but that was the title on the clip. Surprised at the ferocity of the fire.

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56 minutes ago, Spacewagon52 said:

I don't know for sure but that was the title on the clip. Surprised at the ferocity of the fire.

No - this is actually normal way lithium burns (it is more akin of explosion) and as Peter mentioned it is very difficult to extinguish it e.g. water won't work and it could make it worse as the fire could be electrical as well.

As per above, I do not believe this is specifically overcharging... it could be many reasons - damaged batteries, charging terminal, bad contact etc. At least most of western made EVs and charging stations will have multi-step overcharge protection. I don't know how it works in China and some corners may have been cut there, but overcharging should not be an issue here.

As for insurance my guess is - the insurance of the vehicle which get on fire covers everything.... unless it is proven that fire was caused by the charging station - in which case the station operator insurance covers everything. At lest that is what I would expect to happen in UK...  In China I am potentially everyone will cover their own costs, I don't think insurance is mandatory there (but I may be wrong).

 

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Wow that's first time I've seen this sort of thing unbelievable phew. We go to Cornwall a couple of times a year and when we stop at service stations usually Strensham then Taunton Dene both are on the M5 i have always had a look at the EV points. My reasoning been if i had an EV would i get to Cornwall in it in short no without charging. So i look at where they are i have only seen them at these service stations there was a couple in each now i think Tesla have a bank of them in one of them. Anyhow going on ive never seen a vehicle plugged in one of them (not looked at the Tesla ones) but. I discovered a company called Ecotricity have the franchise to supply chargers to all the service stations. I dont know if that is still the case. Anyhow i really studied one of these chargers when we stopped. I was suprised to read on the instructions and you could only use it if you had an app installed on your phone or had previousley registered with this company. Alarmingly it also read DO NOT USE if wet, if it is raining, if an electric storm is present or if it is lightning. Has anyone on here seen this. Massive issue with the infrastructure in this country regards charging compatability maybe thats another thread.  Thanks for these posts most interesting.

Brent  

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Yeah, charging EV (unless Tesla) is not as straightforward as you may think - there are dozen of different networks, prices, subscription models etc. I am sure at some point there will be regulations and service providers which will make it possible to have single plan (maybe there is something already), so that anyone can use any charging point. 

I would add as well, that refilling petrol is not risk free either (you see dinosaur juice are flammable), so you will see warning not to smoke, use lighters and all things mobile phones when refilling. So the positive take - at least you can smoke when charging EV 😄

I think in summary - charging EVs is not somehow more dangerous than refilling petrol, however risks there are different from what we are used to. In the end of the day energy dense fuels always needs to be handled with care - be that high voltage batteries, hydrocarbons or hydrogen e.g. you would not refill the fuel with punctured fuel tank right? Likewise it is unwise to charge the car with damaged Battery cell.

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There are systems to monitor your batteries, at least in mainstream EVs. Basically, you will get Battery fault warning and will be unable to charge or drive, rather than car becoming fireball when charging. But physical damage is an issue with EVs - if you just run off the road and banged-up the floor it is not good idea to go ahead and start charging it. As it happens batteries are relatively exposed compared to petrol tanks at the moment (especially for underside damage) and therefore we need to start thinking about different risks when driving EVs. Even if you ran over piece of derby on the road in EV it would be good idea to check if Battery didn't get damaged, whereas that is really not an issue with modern ICE cars.

I am not sure what caused first fire, but the video I have copied I am fairly confident it was physical damage the Battery. Probably the owner hit something on the road and dented the Battery shell a little bit. This was not enough for Battery to fail, but it was enough for maybe one cell to get slightly deformed, it started heating-up and overtime this caused domino effect, one cell burst, surrounding cells burst and eventually it got critical mass to blow through the insulation and cause major fire.

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Car magazine have been running some BEVs and the drivers often report an inability to get their downloaded app working with the charging station. The don’t use when it’s raining warning is a wind up surely? 😀

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1 hour ago, paulrnx said:

Car magazine have been running some BEVs and the drivers often report an inability to get their downloaded app working with the charging station. The don’t use when it’s raining warning is a wind up surely? 😀

Paul i couldn't believe it when i saw it next time you see one have a look. Mind you when you think water and electric don't mix too well do they.

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9 hours ago, ALAW said:

Paul i couldn't believe it when i saw it next time you see one have a look. Mind you when you think water and electric don't mix too well do they.

Surely they are all waterproof connectors though? I mean these things are sat out in the weather the whole time anyway. Agree there would be some risk when making the connection especially if someone waves it round in the rain before connecting. There are some pretty stringent ISO standards for waterproof electrical connectors. Imagine that. You can’t use charging stations in wet weather. In the UK. I’m shocked.

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8 hours ago, paulrnx said:

Surely they are all waterproof connectors though? I mean these things are sat out in the weather the whole time anyway. Agree there would be some risk when making the connection especially if someone waves it round in the rain before connecting. There are some pretty stringent ISO standards for waterproof electrical connectors. Imagine that. You can’t use charging stations in wet weather. In the UK. I’m shocked.

Agree - if it is little damp or there is light drizzle then the construction and design of the chargers are certainly up-to the task.

I still tend believe that in proper charging points and electric cars there are systems to prevent any accidents when charging. Even if charger itself would short-circuit I am quite confident there are protection in both car and the charger to deal with that. Maybe you get blown fuse or simply find that car has not charged because of some error, but it should not result in the fire ball.

Obviously, if you open your charging port and there is water pouring out of it, or if it's raining heavily and you are in the middle of the thunderstorm then perhaps it would not be a good idea to charge electric car outside.

That doesn't mean people should be ignorant or abuse the systems e.g. don't try to pressure wash your car when charging, but neither they are just waiting until they can turn into fireball. I think warnings are there just to remind people to have common sense.

Whenever that is the case for China, or infrastructure in developing nations - that is different question. I think they don't have as robust standards of safety as we do and therefore corners could be cut and accidents happens more often. This is as well not limited to EVs, they have much more risk on all activity across the board (i.e. deaths at work).

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