Recently, electric vehicle fires have been making headlines, causing significant concern among consumers and manufacturers alike. A video from the Chase Car channel shared insights on the alarming incidents that have left Ford and GM CEOs grappling with safety concerns and potential reputational damage. Here’s the full story.

Reports of EVs Catching Fire

Contrary to initial assurances that EV fires are rare, the reality, as presented in the video, tells a different story. The video shared regular reports of EVs catching fire which have led to safety concerns, contributing to consumer hesitancy in embracing the transition to electric vehicles.

The video delved into GM’s recent troubles, focusing on the BrightDrop EV600, a commercial van designed by a GM subsidiary. Following a series of fire incidents, GM had to recall 66 units of the 2022 model year.

Commitment to Safety

The company is investigating a potential front Drive Unit manufacturing defect as the cause. While GM assures the public of its commitment to safety, experts suspect a manufacturing flaw in the Drive Unit, possibly linked to oil leaks.

This incident is not the first time GM has faced EV fire problems.

The video recalled a more serious issue a few years ago involving Chevy’s mass-produced EV, the Bolt. A faulty battery design led to a recall of every single Bolt EV and Bolt EUV ever built, showing the substantial financial impact and safety concerns associated with EVs.

Not the Only Manufacturer

Ford, another major player in the automotive industry, is not exempt from the challenges of EVs. The video highlighted an incident at Ford’s Rouge Electric Center in Michigan where an all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning caught fire, resulting in intense damage to two other Lightnings.

The video suggested that extinguishing EV fires can be exceptionally challenging due to the chain reaction known as thermal runaway, making them hard to combat with traditional firefighting methods.

The Rouge Electric Center incident led to a five-week production pause and a recall of certain electric pickups. The cause of the fire was identified as a manufacturing fault, resulting in a short circuit in the battery pack. While the safety concerns surrounding EV fires are prominent, the video suggested that Ford, like other automakers, is grappling with broader challenges in making EVs profitable.

Struggling With Losses

Beyond safety concerns, automakers are facing the deeper challenge of making electric vehicles economically viable. The video pointed out that, despite record-high sales numbers for EVs, including the F-150 Lightning, automakers like Ford are still grappling with losses. The transition to EVs comes with significant production costs, contributing to Ford’s projected loss of around $4.5 billion in 2023.

The video shared that the challenge lies in the cost of producing EVs, making it economically burdensome for automakers. It added that while projections suggest a potential turning point in 2026, with an estimated 8% profit margin, the current stall in the EV market could delay this timeline.

The Reason for the Fires

To address the burning question of why EVs catch fire, the video explored various factors contributing to electric vehicle fires.

Thermal runaway in lithium-ion batteries, damage or production faults leading to uncontrolled temperature increases, and issues related to charging equipment were cited as common causes.

The environmental impact of EV fires was also emphasized, with lithium-ion batteries releasing toxic fumes and gasses. This not only poses challenges for first responders but also adds an environmental dimension to the safety concerns associated with EVs.

An International Issue

The video broadened its view to the global stage, sharing that concerns about EV fires extend beyond American automakers.

China, as the world’s leading EV market, is also grappling with safety concerns. BYD, a major Chinese EV manufacturer, has announced a halt to the production of pouch-type batteries, a design considered risky. BYD plans to replace these batteries with Prismatic batteries.

Would You Buy an EV?

The video doesn’t shy away from discussing Tesla, a pioneer in the EV industry. Despite Tesla’s extensive experience in producing electric cars, occasional stories of Tesla models catching fire have surfaced. The video mentioned infamous incidents, including a Model S fire that caused a fatality in 2019 and a Model S fire in a Shanghai garage due to a battery module.

In conclusion, the video asked, “All these incidents lead to the same question. Would you buy an EV and keep it in your garage?”

So what do you think? Given the rising incidents of electric vehicle fires, what steps do you believe automakers and regulatory bodies should take to improve the safety of EVs and address the concerns of potential buyers?