Electric cars are posing a particular fire danger to users and technicians.
Last year, TV presenter Richard Hammond escaped with slight injuries after a prototype electric sports car he was driving crashed and was totally destroyed in minutes and earlier this year another electric car crashed in America, was recovered and then burst into flames some time later while in storage.
Now, the Institute of the Motor Industry, which has been lobbying for the introduction of regulation for vehicle technicians working with electrically-propelled vehicles, believes it is vital that training and accreditation is extended to those dealing with the latest automotive technology at the roadside but also including hybrids with a powerful electrical drive system.
The IMI’s recommendations to implement a Licence to Practise for those working on electric and hybrid vehicles now form part of the government’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy and the IMI is urging roadside and emergency services to ensure their workforces are equally well prepared.
|Steve Nash, Chief Executive at the IMI, said, “In the most recent case, a Tesla battery caught fire again, even after fire services had put the initial blaze out and the vehicle was in storage.
“As motoring technology advances, it is vital that any professional coming into contact with these vehicles has the best possible training.
AA & EVs
|AA President Edmund King said they were aware of special requirements of dealing with EVs, adding, ” For the last three years or so we have had our patrols doing EV courses. Our technicians examine all new EVs that come on the market and send out updates to patrols. We have also discussed this with the IMI.”|
“Of course, there are risks when dealing with petrol and diesel fueled vehicles – electric vehicles aren’t inherently more dangerous. But the reality is that technicians and emergency services have had a lot longer to understand the risks of petrol and diesel fueled vehicles.”
He added, “These professionals are currently operating in an unregulated space and we firmly believe that our proposed Licence to Practise, supported by accreditation schemes, will deliver a higher level of competency, skill and safety for technicians and motorists alike.
|“As we advance towards a zero emission future, the technology that roadside technicians and emergency services will be coming into contact with on a daily basis will change – with high voltage electrics becoming commonplace. But those who aren’t properly trained or equipped will be at risk from serious injury or potentially fatal shock. And it’s important to remember that emergency services don’t make a choice about what vehicles they deal with.
“We have lobbied the government to act now to ensure that a regulatory standard or license to practice is introduced for anybody likely to deal with these vehicles. We have put forward detailed proposals for such a regulatory standard and how it can be administered and enforced.”
Major motoring organisations have developed their own procedures for dealing with hybrids and electric vehicles due to energy stored, the connections and materials used. Simple breakdowns or full recovery operations need special approaches.
|The pioneering Nissan Leaf has been tested for crash integrity and passed with flying colours from Spanish safety experts.
Results for the first car to go through the Euro NCAP test programme this year have been released, with the zero-emission Nissan LEAF achieving a five-star Euro NCAP rating for safety.
Matthew Avery, director of research, Thatcham Research highlighted the performance of the Nissan LEAF in impact testing, “Nissan has done a great job considering the additional challenges pure electric propulsion presents.
“Chief amongst those is the additional weight an electric battery brings, which must also be protected in the event of a crash.
“In none of the impact tests did we see any compromise of the battery. In fact, the Nissan LEAF achieved maximum points in the side pole crash test, showing good containment of the battery.”
The UK Thatcham Research centre will be crash testing a Jaguar iPace EV at the end of this year.