Electric Car Fire Lawyer

Vehicles often catch fire after a crash, but an electric and hybrid car can burst into flames sometimes hours after the initial fire.  After a number of battery-powered cars manufactured by Tesla and NIO went up in flames, the Chinese Ministry has ordered the automakers to conduct potential safety hazards, including safety checks on cars that have already been sold.  Last year China recorded at least 40 fire-related incidents involving new-energy vehicles, according to the State Administration for Market Regulation

On the heels of several fires, companies have been ordered to check for potential safety hazards with battery boxes, waterproof protection in cars, high-voltage wiring harnesses, as well as on-board charging devices, according to Bloomberg News. Automakers must submit findings by the end of October.

A Florida man speeding in a Tesla Model S lost control of his car, hit some trees and the car burst into flames—the man died. A similar incident occurred in Silicon Valley (same model) but the driver managed to escape before the car was engulfed in flames. Three SUVs made by the Chinese electric car maker NIO caught fire in the last few months and two Tesla models burst into flames: one in Shanghai and another combusting in Hong Kong.

If someone was involved in an electric car fire accident the cause should be investigated by an experienced electric car fire accident lawyer. At The Killino Firm we believe that automakers have a responsibility to American consumers and should be held accountable for making and selling defective products. Our attorneys are experts at digging deep and fighting foreign manufacturers and other companies and individuals that want to save a few pennies but in the process put American’s safety at risk.

Electric Car Recalls

Audi in June 2019 said it is recalling their first all-electric vehicle sold in the U.S. because of the risk of battery fire. Its 540 E-Tron SUVs have been voluntarily recalled on risk that moisture can seep into the battery cell through a wiring harness glitch. And NIO is recalling around 4,800 units of its flagship electric SUV, the ES8, due to a battery issue.

Electric Car Battery Fires

In a foreseeable crash the batteries must be protected so they do not burst into flames. Back in 2013, Technology Review reported that three Tesla Motors Model S electric cars within two months caught fire after their lithium-ion battery packs were damaged. At the time, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it would investigate whether Tesla’s Model S needed to be modified to prevent further fires.  Fortunately there were no injuries due to a warning system that allowed the drivers to pull the car over and get out before smoke started coming from the battery pack, and the design of the battery pack slowed the spread of the fire, which never made it into the passenger compartments.  Lithium-ion battery fires have occurred with other plug-in electric vehicles, including the Chevy Volt and Fisker Karma.

Thousands of battery cells make up electric-vehicle battery packs, and each cell contains a flammable liquid electrolyte. These battery packs must be designed to keep the electrolyte from catching fire, and keeping a fire contained if a fire occurs. But lithium-ion battery cells can sometimes generate enough heat to ignite the electrolyte, which is a process known as thermal runaway.  Technology Review explains that short-circuits between the two electrodes in a battery cell can heat up the electrodes and if they get too hot, chemical reactions can be triggered that generate even more heat until the electrolytes burst into flame. Thermal Runaway https://www.sure-power.com/2013/07/what-is-thermal-runaway/ is thought to be the cause of the Tesla Fires.

Firefighters and First Responders

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), https://www.nfpa.org/  crashes are the reason for three percent of vehicle fires, regardless the type of vehicle. But NFPA has issued special training materials for firefighters to deal with electric and hybrid vehicles bursting into flames after it first catches fire.  In its online emergency response guide, Tesla states that “battery fires can take up to 24 hours to extinguish” and warns about potential “re-ignition.”   The guide, intended for first and second responders, advises ways to safely extinguish the flames.

Some automakers have made battery packs safer, but it’s not clear that Tesla has done so.  Meanwhile, with more electric cars on the road, firefighters are trying to keep up with the technology that apparently changes with each model. They will be the ones who have to handle fires when batteries are ignited and cars combust an accident or other emergency.  Popular Mechanics in April 2019 said that “Electric cars represent a serious design break from car engines of the past, and their big battery packs represent a fire danger if those packs are punctured during an accident. A few serious fires after electric vehicles accidents have become big news…Fighting an electric car fire is a new kind of skill that requires a new kind of thinking.”

Panasonic makes Tesla’s batteries. The company says it is developing battery systems with safety as top priority. Detroit News reported the following:

“Battery combustion is a very serious incident for consumers, and it could lead to consumer aversion to electric vehicles,” Automotive Energy Supply Corp., whose batteries power about 430,000 Nissan Motor Co. vehicles, said in an email. “We are determined not to cause serious accidents and put damage on the industry, and we believe that now it is more important to proceed with caution.”

At The Killino Firm, we recognize that electric vehicle death and injuries often change our clients’ lives forever. As a result, we provide personalized and caring representation, while zealously fighting for our clients at every stage of their cases, including trial, if necessary.

Victims of electric car fires hire The Killino Firm because they know we will thoroughly investigate every electric car injury and that our clients will receive all of the compensation they are entitled to. We employ a team of attorneys, paralegals and investigators knowledgeable about electric vehicles.

We also understand that our clients have suffered serious, at times catastrophic, injuries, and need a law office that will deal with the insurance companies and guide the clients and their families through the maze of medical care and treatment that they face.