EV Fire Safety Information for EV Fleets and Apartment EV Charging

When examining electric vehicle fires, a more informative approach is to analyse the number of fires per 100,000 vehicles sold. A comprehensive study conducted by researchers at Auto Insurance EZ, utilised sales and accident data from reputable sources like the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the National Transportation Safety Board. The findings revealed that hybrid vehicles had the highest incidence of fires, with 3474.5 fires per 100,000 sales. Gas vehicles followed with 1529.9 fires per 100,000 sales, while electric vehicles exhibited a significantly lower figure of just 25.1 fires per 100,000 sales.

What we Know About Recent EV Fires

Here’s what the data tells us from EV battery fires that have occurred:

The cause of many EV fires have been unknown. This may be from the lack of reporting, a cause not being investigated or that it may still be under investigation. However, a collision was a common reason that led to thermal runaway, which went on to cause a battery fire.

EV Fire Locations

EV fires seemed to happen equally while parked outside, parked inside or while on the move.

Fire Ignition versus Explosion

Analysing the available data, it is evident that electric vehicle (EV) fires predominantly result in ignition rather than explosions. Approximately 9 out of 10 fire incidents have been observed to ignite, generating flames resembling a jet from the base of the vehicle. In contrast, only about 1 out of 10 of reported incidents involved an actual explosion.

Vapour Cloud Explosion (VCE) Explanation

A Vapour Cloud Explosion (VCE) is a potential incident that can occur in both enclosed and open spaces, including underground carparks or residential garages. It is crucial to assess the probability of such occurrences and take appropriate precautions to ensure safety.

Probability of VCE Occurrence

The probability of a Vapour Cloud Explosion (VCE) occurring can be assessed through statistical analysis, revealing the following chances:

Enclosed Spaces (e.g., underground car parks, residential garages): The estimated probability of a VCE incident in enclosed spaces is approximately 8 out of every 1 million vehicles, indicating a very low risk.

Open Spaces: In open spaces, the likelihood of a VCE event is even lower, with a probability of approximately 4 in every 1 million vehicles.

EV Charging and Fire Incidents

Upon examining the data, it becomes apparent that approximately one-third of EV fires occurred in close proximity to an EV charger. In other words, the likelihood of a fire incident happening while near an EV charger is estimated to be 4 in every 1 million occurrences.


Electrocution is not actually as high a risk as initially thought. This is because of the built in EV safety systems, that isolate the battery as soon as the airbags are triggered.


If an EV battery pack gets partially burnt, this can lead to thermal runaway (temperature rises) for days and weeks after the incident. If not rectified, this can lead to an increased fire risk and therefore is critical for professionals to recognise if this is developing.

EV Fire Safety Tips for Fleets

While EVs are no more likely to catch fire than traditional vehicles, it’s always good to be prepared, especially if you have an EV fleet. Australia currently does not have any legal or mandatary requirements for vehicles to carry fire extinguishers, but having one will protect your passengers and vehicle should the worst happen.

EV Fire Safety Tips for Apartments

For apartment EV chargers, it’s important to manage risk with safety precautions. Fire detection systems should be installed and maintained and fire extinguishing equipment available. Consider these factors to mitigate apartment charging risk:

Charge point installation.

Apartment EV charging stations should only be fitted by an approved installer such as EGen who are trained and certified for safe installation.

Charge point maintenance.

All equipment and cables should be maintained at regular intervals according to the manufacturers guidelines and local regulations.

Charge point and cable use.

Each charging point should be well ventilated, have enough space and clearly signposted. Only manufacturer approved cables should be used for charging and damaged cables should not be used.

Equipment faults and damage.

If an electrical fault or failure happens, there should be the ability to manually isolate this charge point. EV users should be aware of the procedures for reporting damage or faults to EV charging equipment.