While electric vehicles continue to be more widely accepted across the United States, some worries still linger that hinder widespread adoption, including range anxiety, pricing, and fire risk. In regard to EV fires, it now appears as though the risk isn’t as prevalent as originally thought.
According to a report from The Guardian, the thought process behind EV fires can be broken down into two categories; electric vehicle fires are more common, and are more damaging. However, as all-electric vehicles continue to amass more history and data, evidence is beginning to show that there is nothing pointing to EVs being more susceptible to fires, and that ICE-powered vehicles may actually be more prone to combusting.
“All the data shows that EVs are just much, much less likely to set on fire than their petrol equivalent,” Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit Head of Transport Colin Walker claimed in a prepared statement. “The many, many fires that you have for petrol or diesel cars just aren’t reported.”
When looking at vehicle fires in Norway – which boasts the largest percentage of EVs – it was found that there were four to five times more fires in ICE-powered vehicles as compared to their EV counterparts. More specifically, there were 3.8 fires per 100,000 electric or hybrid cars in 2022, with 68 fires per 100,000 cars of all fuel types.
It’s worth noting that the latter figures include cases of arson, which could skew the data.
One of the more notable instances of electric vehicle fires in the United States came in the form of the Chevy Bolt EV. Back in April 2021, General Motors recalled 69,000 examples of the 2017-2019 Bolt EV over concerns of the battery pack overheating and suddenly bursting into flames. GM even went as far as to advise owners to park their vehicle outside and away from covered structures.