- January 21, 2022
- Categories: Electric Vehicles and Lemon Law
We’re all seeing more and more stories on television news and the internet about electric vehicle batteries catching fire. Is this widespread or just a few isolated incidents? Should I be concerned? Just what is the story? Can electric vehicles catch fire?
Well, the short answer is yes, electric vehicles can catch fire. Just how often or how severe the fires are is now being studied by the auto industry. Consider these recent recalls by vehicle manufacturers due to concerns over EVs’ lithium-ion batteries:
- General Motors has recalled all 142,000 of the two Chevy Bolt models sold since 2017 because the EVs could catch fire.
- Ford recalled more than 20,000 plug-in hybrids in Europe because they could overheat and catch fire.
- Hyundai in 2021 expanded a similar callback covering about 90,000 of its Kona EVs.
- Tesla products have been linked to several fires.
Clearly, there are some manufacturing defects or design abnormalities within these batteries that are making them prone to fires. In 2021, GM ordered new battery packs that, according to the company, resolve a series of manufacturing defects, though the long-term success of these newer batteries remains is still unclear.
Do electric vehicles catch fire when they crash?
How common are electric car vehicle fires?
The vehicle recalls prompted by fires have proved costly for automakers. The GM Chevy Bolt recall alone is estimated to cost the manufacturer about $1.8 billion, while the Hyundai Kona recall carries a price tag of $900 million. GM has said the problems are due to manufacturing defects at its battery supplier, a subsidiary of LG Chem in South Korea. Newer versions of the battery promise improved technology.
Battery fires appear to fall into two categories:
- 1. Some fires are ignited by a crash that damages and shorts out the battery pack, setting individual cells ablaze.
- 2. Other fires appear to have occurred while EVs were parked and, in some cases, while inside a garage and/or hooked up to a charger.
While these reports are scary and have garnered a lot of headlines, some industry experts say the threat of fires with EVs has been overblown. The vast majority of EVs, thus far, have experienced no fires. Time will tell whether this trend continues.
The good news is that California Lemon Law applies to electric vehicle defects as well as those in gasoline-powered cars and trucks. Electric vehicles and their owners are protected under the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. If you own an EV that has caught fire, call the lemon law attorneys at Neale & Fhima to find out if you qualify to file a lemon law claim. The initial consultation is free, so call us at 877-308-2128.
A closer look at charging
Can electric cars catch fire while charging?
Some of the EV fires – particularly those involving the Chevy Bolt – happened while the vehicle was hooked up to a charger. In fact, one fire in Port St. Lucie, Florida, erupted in 2020 and heavily damaged the house where the charger was located.
While some EV fires are relatively minor, other conflagrations have been much more serious, and because of the lithium-ion batteries, they have proved very difficult for firefighters to extinguish. For example, a 2021 EV fire in Vienna, VA, took firefighters an hour to put out, only to have the battery reignite two more times – once, an hour later at the same location, and then again after being towed to a Chevy dealership.
There is promising news on the horizon. Some battery manufacturers are replacing the chemical slurry found in current EV batteries with a solid alternative. Solid-state batteries are expected to be much more fireproof.
Frequency of fires
Do electric cars catch fire more often?
EV fires provide dramatic video footage for the nightly news, but several experts say that electric vehicles are no more prone to fires than are their gas-powered counterparts. Experts hypothesize that videos of EV fires on social media and elsewhere have created an outsized concern in consumers’ minds, one that is not consistent with the actual incidence of fires. In fact, some say that EVs are less prone to fires than other vehicles.
Nonetheless, an EV fire can damage not only the vehicle, but it can also result in burns and serious injuries for drivers. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a fire, you might have a personal injury claim in addition to a lemon law claim. This means you could be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. If so, hiring a personal injury attorney should be your next step.
Why Should I Choose Neale & Fhima?
We know that there are a lot of lemon law lawyers in California to choose from, but we believe Neale & Fhima stands head and shoulders above the rest. That’s because we have an outstanding pattern of success in handling lemon law claims for our clients! We have a 99% success rate in lemon law cases, and our attorneys are among the best and the brightest. The team at Neale & Fhima is committed to every client’s success, and therefore, we have many happy clients.
Here are a few of the reasons you should choose us:
- Years of Experience. Our attorneys have more than 40 years of combined experience representing clients throughout California.
- Our Lawyers Win Cases. Neale & Fhima enjoys a 99% success rate. We think this says a lot about the skill of our attorneys. While we cannot guarantee the outcome of any particular case, you can take comfort in knowing your claim is being handled by lemon law lawyers who have a track record of success.
- We Know the Law.California’s lemon law is a fine example of how the state legislature can empower consumers. When it comes to clarity, however, the text of the statute leaves much to be desired. Our attorneys understand the quirks of the statute, as well as the many court opinions interpreting it. We put this knowledge to work for you.
- Free Consultations. We will always discuss your situation with you in a free initial consultation before you make any decisions about a claim.
If your electric vehicle has caught fire, and you want to find out whether you qualify for a California lemon law claim, call our skilled and experienced lemon law attorneys at 877-308-2128. We fight for our clients!