EV battery recalls: more smoke than fire?

High-profile recalls and safety probes are attracting attention, but what do they really say about the safety of batteries? By Megan Lampinen

Electric vehicles (EVs) are slowly but surely making their way into the mainstream and poised to one day overtake internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The trouble is that some of them have had problems with the batteries, resulting occasionally in severe fires and even explosions.

Special report: Electric vehicle battery safety

Fires can occur under various conditions of mechanical, thermal or electrical stress or abuse, for example, if a battery is operated at extreme temperatures, is used to supply too high a power, or is in a collision. Operation of batteries under abnormal conditions can lead to a significant temperature rise, as well as the venting of toxic, flammable gases, which can ignite, leading to a fire.

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