Fire Safety Week 2020 - WEBINAR #4: Energy transition in transports

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WEBINAR #4: Thursday November 19th – 10h00-11h30 (CET)

Energy transition in transports

It is estimated that around one third of the world car market will be electric or hybrid by 2030. This has important implications for rescue services on the road (accidents, fires in e-vehicles) and brings specific new fire safety risks in buildings (related to batteries in parked vehicles, to charging …).

Fires in existing road vehicles are already an issue, with (e.g.) over 200 000 vehicle fires, causing 560 deaths, 1 500 injuries and nearly 2 billion US$ property damage in the USA alone (coherent fire statistics are not collected at the European level). Fire risks are accentuated by increasing use of modern materials (polymers, composites, carbon fibres …) to reduce vehicle weight and so improve energy efficiency, and with increasingly complex electronics, including potentially in the future with self-driving, 5G cars.

Fire safety is critical in public transport. There are strict fire safety requirements in trains, metro systems and aircraft (but not today in coaches and buses) because of the difficulty to escape and the numbers of people present in transit buildings.

Electrical and hybrid road vehicles bring new and increased fire safety risks: battery fires started either by mechanical damage in accidents or by battery electrical faults or “runaway”, high amperage vehicle cables and connectors for drive systems and specific fire risks related to charging systems in buildings (high power cables and connectors, risk of battery overheating or overcharging). Battery fires in vehicles parked or charging pose particular dangers and fire fighting challenges in buildings.

The objectives of this webinar are to:

  • Understand the specific new fire risks of electric and hybrid vehicles, both on the road and in buildings.
  • See approaches developed by the car industry and suppliers to address these risks
  • Discuss policy actions and research needs

Programme and presentations (PDF)

10:00 Welcome
Elie van Strien, Chair European Fire Safety Alliance
Adrian Beard, Chair of pinfa
10.10 Fire risks of road vehicles, and how these risks are changing with electric vehicles
Paul Otxoterena, RiSE Sweden: overview of fire in road vehicles, and specific new accident and fire safety challenges of e-vehicles (PDF Presentation)
Ulf Björnstig, Senior Professor of Surgery, Umeå University, Sweden: viewpoint of the medical profession, casualty data from vehicle fires, medical consequences of toxic emissions from burning e-vehicles (PDF Presentation)
David Qi, RadiciGroup High Performance Polymers Materials: increasing fire load in modern vehicles, specific fire risks in e-mobility, technical solutions for safety and performance
Questions and discussion
10:45 Specific risks of e-vehicles charging and parking in buildings
Vincente Mans, fire safety industry expert: overview of fire risks related to electric vehicles in garages (PDF Presentation)
Laurent Tribut, Schneider Electric: safety requirements, fire safety standards, solutions for e-vehicle charging stations, stand-alone or in number, indoor and outdoor (PDF Presentation)
Dieter Brants, Hulpverleningszone Oost (Flanders fire safety organisation): assessment of risks of charging infrastructure and e-vehicles in car parks
Lars Derek Mellert, Amstein + Walthert Progress AG, Risk Management, Switzerland: The future lies underground – and what about the risks of electric vehicle fires? (PDF Presentation)
Questions and discussion
11:25 Short wrap-up and conclusions
Adrian Beard & Elie van Strien


This webinar is part of the European Fire Safety Week 2020 and is co-organised by the European Fire Safety Alliance and pinfa.