Why EV batteries are becoming a concern for U.S. fire departments

After a March 23, 2018, accident on a California freeway, a Tesla Model X caught fire twice within 24 hours and again six days later.

The NTSB has also documented instances in which firefighters didn’t use the preferred method to fight a battery fire: copious amounts of water to cool overheating power packs and tamp down flames.

The most aggressive fires have involved lithium-based batteries, which can self-ignite and are difficult to extinguish, such as those installed on Teslas.

The survey of 32 fire departments was compiled in 2018, according to the NTSB records released Wednesday. At least 65 percent of departments said awareness of EVs, training for those type of fires and a lack of funding were all “obstacles” to how they responded.

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