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It isn't front page news only because of the elections, but there is trouble in EV Land. Nothing extremely new, if you stay close to the subject daily.... however the data is coming a bit more out of hiding.
Here is a quote from a Bloomberg article today....
"Vehicles going up in flames aren’t new to the electric era. An estimated 171,500 took place annually in the U.S. alone over a recent three-year period"
171,500 Annually!!? Now if that is true, it's shocking to me that more isn't being said about safety of EV's. Why are we going forward with this unsafe technology? We've heard about battery fires, in many household appliances.... and I believe a smidgen of negative news about Tesla batteries got out that was quickly swept under the rug somehow.
But now, a business news outlet as large as Bloomberg is willing to report the extent of the fire danger with electric vehicles.
(I'm going to keep watch on this, because it's possible Bloomberg got data that mingles gas engine and electric-powered vehicles)
More from the story: "BMW and Hyundai are recalling tens of thousands of cars, and GM is being probed by U.S. safety regulators."
(I've heard there is also some question about Ford hybrid SUV's in Europe, so we've decided to delay by a year introducing that vehicle package on SUV's we were going to sell in the US)
Now get this one: " “What we’re seeing with new fires has more to do with the landslide of new EV models and higher sales in the last couple of years -- there are more fires because there are more EVs,” said Sam Jaffe, managing director at Cairn Energy Research Advisors, a Boulder, Colorado-based consultancy. "
I simply cannot understand how someone could say that with a straight face!!!
Imagine..... if we all are forced into electric vehicles after this year (which is what is coming, like it or not), this "expert" is telling us all that 171,500 annually is only the tip of the iceberg.
One further quote: " Around the world, engineers are still tinkering with the complicated chemical cocktail that goes into EV batteries. They’re in a global race to make them cheaper, lighter, and more powerful -- one that some analysts warn could come at the expense of safety.
“Pursuing a higher battery density will normally mean you need to sacrifice safety,” said Toliver Ma, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co. “It’s long been a problem that hasn’t been solved. Battery makers are wanting to put out batteries that have a long driving range, because that’s what automakers demand.” "
End of rant, but I couldn't just sit here reading that and not blow a gasket.
That's pretty scary, considering that a battery fire in a car can reach 5,000 degrees fahrenheit and putting water to it can cause an explosion. Also, there is no way to gauge how much energy is still in that battery once the fire is out. Consequently the fire can reignite on its own a few days later.
Here's even more scary thoughts. Everything these days is becoming battery powered. Storage batteries are being installed in homes. Tools are battery powered. What happens when your battery powered lawn mower gets too hot and suddenly burst into flames. No problem, just get out the hose and water it down. And that's when it explodes.
Interesting, I hadn't thought about electrocution risk if you happen to have an accident on a rainy night, with a "live" battery soaking in water around you. This video just woke me up to that potential. Firemen wear boots that would protect them, but normal passengers in the car would not.
Nothing left up front of that Tesla after the crash, I also noticed.
Not surprised, actually. Anytime you hear a group claiming something is THE solution, you can pretty well bet they're not telling the whole truth. I've seen videos of Teslas that have caught fire and it's impressive - very similar to a magnesium fire and probably as hot. There are complaints about fracking for natural gas. But just compare the footprint of a fracking well compared to the footprint for a strip mine to get the rare earths to make batteries for electric cars. That's one of the dirty little secret about electrics. The other is how much range is affected in cold weather states when power has to be diverted to heating the interior. Electrics will only become truly practical when the hydrogen fuel cell is developed to be cost effective and the infrastructure is in place to fuel them.
Refilling of hydrogen is itself an explosion risk. I drove a prototype vehicle built to run on hydrogen, many years ago, as an evaluation. They would not allow me to refuel it when I finished the drive. I had to stand back at a distance while the engineer took it to the refueling hook-up inside our Proving Grounds.
This guy puts out a lot of auto-related videos, often I find him biased about his opinions, but this particular one about electric and alternative powertrains of the present and future covered some interesting things I'd never heard.
One big thing I saw that bothered me....it appeared that to mine lithium in US, they MAY be carving up the Salt Flats out west to feed Tesla's battery plant in Nevada.
The hydrogen fuel cell is the ONLY technology on the horizon that is an approximate match to ICE in range, sustainability in cold climates, and approximate time to refuel. Sure, hydrogen is potentially dangerous, but so is a petro fuel if you're careless. I'm confident that a fueling station can be engineered to mitigate the dangers to an acceptable level.
Hydrogen is abundant and the fuel cell is essentially a closed loop. It takes energy to extract hydrogen, but the catalytic process essentially gives up the electricity and yields back water that eventually becomes the source for more hydrogen. If this weren't viable GM, Toyota, Honda, and a few large truck manufacturers wouldn't be investing so heavily in the R&D for it. Honda has the fuel cell size down to fit in a typical engine compartment. This is why I think GM has partnered with Honda on electrics. Honda is very close to fuel cell technology that's commercially ready. They just need volume.
The heat generated from the catalytic process can be scavenged off for vehicle heat in winter without compromising range.
The fuel cell won't be perfect at first, but neither was the ICE or the automobile in general.
It will be exciting to see hydrogen become a viable fuel. But I can't imagine how it could possibly become mainstream in the next 10 - 20 years. Companies must amortize their considerable investment in battery power. And once they do that, battery power won't be going away. It will probably be used in conjunction with hydrogen power. There already is a 4 passenger airplane that uses batteries for takeoff and hydrogen for flight. It has had a successful flight.
Norway, France and Germany will be the front runners as they currently have hydrogen fueling stations and are planning to use hydrogen in commercial vehicles/boats in the near future.