Electronic Vehicles Present Unique Safety Issues

Dallas residents who are considering purchasing electronic vehicles should be aware of recent events concerning certain models. A garage fire that involved a Fisker Karma recently broke out in a Sugar Land, Texas, home.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, although Fisker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are investigating the problem. Other vehicles were also in the garage, so it is not clear if the Fisker caused the problem. However, faulty battery packs in Fiskers prompted a recall in January.

Electronic vehicle safety is an important issue for the NHTSA because a large number of automobile makers are reporting increased sales of their electronic vehicles. These sales are expected to soar in coming years. How safe are these vehicles? Are defaults in electronic vehicles causing serious injuries?

Faulty Battery Packs

Representatives from a variety of industries and organizations attended a recent workshop focused on electronic vehicle safety standards. One portion of the workshop featured experts in lithium-ion battery technology.

An example of a potential hazard is a set of faulty battery packs. If hose clamps on battery packs are incorrectly installed, the battery's cooling system could leak onto the packs. Leaks could then cause an electrical short and increase the risk of fires.

Consumers should be aware of the unique features that electronic vehicles offer. There are currently interim guidelines in place for not only consumers, but also first responders and tow truck operators. These guidelines are designed to highlight the appropriate steps to be taken if an electronic vehicle is involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Educating manufacturers and consumers about these issues may help prevent future fires caused by electronic vehicles. The NHTSA is committed to assuring that the highest safety standards are employed on the nation's highways, no matter what type of vehicles consumers choose to purchase.