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When electrical vehicles catch fire

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What happens if an electric car burns in a road tunnel or an underground car park? In the Hagerbach test tunnel in Switzerland, Empa researchers and tunnel safety expert Lars Derek Mellert set fire to battery cells of electric cars, analyzed the distribution of soot and smoke gases and the chemical residues in the extinguishing water.

Crucial information for multi-storey and underground car parks

The trial, which was funded by the Swiss Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) and in which several Empa researchers participated, took place in December 2019. The results have just been published. "In our experiment we were considering in particular private and public operators of small and large underground or multi-story car parks," says project leader Lars Derek Mellert of Amstein + Walthert Progress AG. "All these existing underground structures are being used to an increasing extent by electric cars. And the operators ask themselves: What to do if such a car catches fire? What are the health risks for my employees? What effects does such a fire have on the operation of my plant?" But until now there has been hardly any meaningful technical literature, let alone practical experience for such a case. 

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Not too long in the future, we will be laughing at these pathetic attempts at storing power.

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