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New study uncovers stunning misconception surrounding electric car fires — here's what most people get wrong

EVs actually have a better fire safety record than gas-powered cars.

Electric car fires

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Electric vehicles (EVs), including hybrid cars, are growing more popular. However, some worry that this new type of car comes with new risks. 

EVs are banned in some parking garages and HOAs due to fear of fire, and many drivers avoid them for the same reason. But according to a recent study in Sweden, that concern may be misplaced, Warp News reported.

What Sweden learned about electric car fires

Electric car fires have gotten a lot of recent coverage, which has created an impression among the public that they happen often. However, when the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) ran the numbers for 2022, it found that wasn't true.

Gasoline car fires may not get as much news coverage, but they're more common — even after accounting for the higher number of gasoline cars in the country.

According to the MSB's report, described by Warp News, 0.004% of all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars in Sweden caught fire in 2022, totaling 24 incidents. 

Among gas and diesel cars, however, the rate was 0.08%. Furthermore, the total number of electric car fires has stayed stable for the past three years, even though the number of EVs in the country has roughly doubled. That means the percentage of electric cars catching fire is going down.

What do these results mean for the future?

By the numbers, electric cars have a better fire safety record than gas-powered cars. This means that the possibility of a fire shouldn't keep drivers from buying EVs or companies from allowing them, since the odds are worse with traditional vehicles.

Meanwhile, EVs offer tons of other benefits for drivers, including being cheaper to maintain and drive. They're quieter and cleaner than gas-powered cars, and they're ultimately better for the environment because they don't create exhaust full of heat-trapping pollution.

One issue with electric car fires that the Boston Globe points out is that they can be harder to put out than other fires. Due to a chemical reaction, the battery can start to heat out of control, and it may take thousands of gallons of water to stop. 

However, the more common electric cars get, the more training and equipment fire crews will have related to this issue, which should limit the problem.

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