Electric Vehicle Emergency Response Guides Improving: NTSB

Government says 8 automakers have taken the advice offered by federal safety inspectors.

Electric Vehicle Emergency Response Guides Improving: NTSB

Posted in News

— First responders to electric vehicle crashes and fires will have more assistance from eight companies that followed a safety recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board.

In January 2021, the NTSB issued a safety recommendation to 22 electric vehicle manufacturers based on an NTSB safety report entitled, "Safety Risks to Emergency Responders from Lithium-Ion Battery Fires in Electric Vehicles."

NTSB investigators found automaker emergency response guides were not up to par. The government also found gaps in safety standards and research regarding high-speed crashes which involve electric vehicles equipped with lithium-ion batteries.

Federal investigators opened investigations following electric vehicle crashes because the high-powered lithium-ion batteries can shock first responders. Damaged battery cells can also suffer from thermal runaway, a phrase used to describe uncontrolled thermal and battery pressure temperatures.

But damaged electric vehicle batteries may have "stranded" energy that can reignite fires days after a crash. In a recent case of a Tesla electric vehicle crash, the batteries reignited at the salvage yard three weeks after the original fire.

The fire was finally extinguished by placing the Tesla into a pit of water.

Who Followed the NTSB Recommendation?

"Honda, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Proterra, Van Hool, Volkswagen and Volvo have successfully completed the actions asked for in the NTSB recommendation." — NTSB

There are another 12 manufacturers making progress on the federal safety recommendation:

  • BMW
  • BYD
  • Stellantis (Chrysler)
  • Ford
  • General Motors
  • Gillig
  • Kia
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Nissan
  • Subaru
  • Tesla
  • Toyota

However, the NTSB says Nova Bus Corporation and Karma Automotive haven't responded.