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What causes sudden fires in Electric vehicles and how it can be prevented

Categories: Bikes Technology

                           Four Electric Vehicles(EVs) emitted smoke and eventually went up in flames over the last four days in India, thus raising alarm over the safety of these E-scooters.While one incident was reported from Maharashtra, the other three were from Tamil Nadu. Happening at a time when the summer is just beginning to set in across the subcontinent and at a time when people are actively considering switching to Electric vehicles, these events have sparked widespread concerns. To understand the issues that might have led to the recent fires and to know about possible solutions, WION spoke to Aravind Kumar Chandiran, Assistant Professor, Dept of Chemical Engineering, IIT-Madras.

                          These are actually the result of a build-up(in the battery) that happens over a considerable period of time. The key to tackling such issues, lay in the Battery Management System algorithms. Mobile phones and Electric vehicles have a 'Battery Management System'(BMS), which is meant to manage a rechargeable battery, ensure it operates safely and efficiently. BMS is designed to monitor the parameters(temperature, charging, discharging) associated with the battery pack and its individual cells, apply the collected data to eliminate safety risks and optimize the battery performance.

                          Speaking about the major factors behind damage caused to electric vehicle batteries, he said that it could be thermal abuse(high or low temperature variations), mechanical abuse(accident or crash) and also electric abuse(overcharging and deep discharging cycles). He added that their lab at IIT Madras was also conducting controlled explosions in batteries by inducing the above abuses, to better understand what specific factors lead to the smoke and fire. "By identifying these symptoms or any minute details and changes that we observe in the batteries under abuse, we will be able to detect the issues before hand and develop sensors or alerts to inform the rider. Once a battery starts emitting smoke, there is only about 30-60seconds for escape and that time is very crucial for the rider" he added.

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