EV Fires Less Likely Than ICE Vehicle Fires, Research Finds

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.

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View Comments (22)

  • EV batteries can spontaneously combust even weeks after an accident. ev pushers got missed by covid and are useless. if america get emp attacked. every single ev is now a brick. a useless brick

    • And if the US gets attacked as you said (not sure what "get emp attacked" means), and if the power grid is down, then ICE will be become a brick too. Can't run the fuel pumps without that electricity.

      Sooooo, kind of the same thing.

      • You can manually pump gas out and you could possible create electricity from a generator not on. However most electronics would be dead unless you have car or vehicle that did not have any electrical at the time of the EMP attack.

        I also read the other day that EV's and hybrids have caught on fire more often than ICE vehicles. they also are much more dangerous when they do catch fire. I also don't believe anything coming from the Guardian.

        • "I read the other day..." I read lots of things. It doesn't mean it's true. Finding a peer-reviewed and cited article authored by an actual expert in the field about EV vs ICE fires with associated research data included would certainly show a much more definitive picture.

          We won't bother with that though. We just regurgitate what we hear on TikTok, or something.

      • EMP attack is pure fiction. Scare mongering by the Chinese who don’t have enough ballistic missiles to overload our defense net.

        British scientists tried to develop a small directed EMP for cop chases, but the result was a huge, bulky system that would only scramble the RAM memory of the car (so you power cycle the key and keep going) and you had to be within 50 ft behind the perp to even succeed. Needless to say the idea has been abandoned.

        For an EMP to “fry” the chip boards, you got to be on the threshold of the fireball, so EMP is the least of your worries, and detonating one over Kansas would not neutralize the nation, just the AM bands in the Midwest for about 6 hours.

        Real threat? Cyber attack on the power grid like what Israel did to the Iranian centrifuges. While our system has enough breakers and safeguards a cyber attack can hack it, bricking the electronics could require several days of our now reduced staffs manually running every finger.

          • The insurance is higher due to the way the vehicle itself is constructed, the OEMs pricing on replacement parts, or the availability of 3rd party parts. Many times the availability of parts for modern EVs is scarce as the vehicles themselves are currently low-volume production vehicles to begin with. The low production combined with strains on today's supply chain limitations means that the cost for parts will be significantly higher than ICE vehicles. It is simply a high demand/low availability problem that gets passed onto the customer via higher insurance rates.

      • Gee but you're too dumb to know that there are manual methods of extracting gas and diesel from underground storage tanks. However, the electrical circuitry in all vehicles might be fried, but your comment is still wrong.

      • The ICE car won’t run either because the ECM will became dysfunctional. Everything is tied to the ECM.

    • Most, if not all, modern vehicles would be bricked with a sizeable EMP attack, not just EVs. Besides, the energy required to EMP attack the entire Continental US in one attack is astronomical. It would be nearly impossible and highly improbable. The most likely and realistic scenario with an EMP attack would be taking out the power and communication grids. While this would hamper EVs from charging off the grid, the availability of diesel/gas generators or wind/solar/hydro power could certainly keep EVs going.

    • An EMP attack would render all the vehicles useless that have any sort or brain or computer. As well as most anything electronic or electric in the vicinity of the attack. EMP doesn't only target EV'S.

  • It also depends on the severity of the fire. I remember reading about a Honda Fit recall about 10 years ago. The front driver and passenger windows weren't sufficiently waterproofed, so rain could enter the vehicle's door and cause an electrical fire. Is that bad? Yeah, completely unacceptable. Is it the same as a catastrophic thermal runaway battery fire that engulfs the car within seconds? No. Not even close. One can be put out with a portable fire extinguisher. The other cannot be extinguished by firefighters and needs to burn itself out.

    • Hmm, look at the source, "Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit Head of Transport Colin Walker claimed in a prepared statement." Color me skeptical.

  • Lies!!!

    They are forgetting 2 things, 1, car fires are predominantly in older vehicles that have loose/frayed wiring. 2, Land Rover contracts their EV’s out to china.

    As EV’s age, we will see massive increases in fires. Lithium is the only substance known to man to be able to just combust for no apparent reason just sitting idly. It even burns in contact with water.

    • Well to be fair, not true. Na and K also react violently with water. All the "metals" in the first column do. That one free electron is very reactive. I also recall in high school chem the sodium was kept in a jar of I think oil. I don't think we had K or Li in high school. I remember acids too. HCl was bad, sulfuric was worse, and nitric was downright dangerous.

    • Curious how none of the Media will admit or report that Lithium is a known neurotoxin and here is our wonderful Government introducing more and more of it into the Environment that they claim they are trying to "protect" !

  • What another total load of Male Bovine Excrement from some biased, paid-for Lobbyists.
    ICE vehicles do not spontaneously combust while sitting still without their engines running to pump fuel to an ignition source while Li battery-powered EV's are notorious for it either while being charged or simply sitting still, or when in use and experiencing thermal runaway.

    Ask a firefighter with experience which fire-source they would have the most trouble extinguishing and ask tow-truck drivers/operators and salvage yard owners if they will accept or tow EV's that have experienced a fire and are prone to re-ignite at any time !

    Getting so tired of reading this Horse hockey that the damned lobbyist liars are spin-doctoring and spreading.

  • There are hundreds of millions more ICE than EV yet EVs disproportionately combust for no reason.

  • I will say this: I would not want to be a maritime worker on an unregulated, dirty, polluting cargo ship hauling EV, judging by the news reports of brand new EV spontaneously combusting out there in the middle of the ocean. Very scary scenario that has already happened too often. This is an inconvenient fact for Al Gore followers to digest.