How safe are electric vehicles? And Addax EUVs?

14 Μαρτίου 2024

We are often asked questions about the safety of the Addax battery. We believe this is because of the scare stories we see in the media about “yet another” burnt-out electric car. We look at the facts about car fires, and explain why Addax has chosen to use LiFePO4 batteries: greater safety, better value for money, and its lower environmental impact.

Fire risk of electric cars exaggerated

A major insurance company (AutoinsuranceEZ) in the United States recently analysed the number and type of cars (from the National Transportation Safety Board data) that catch fire. The results showed that electric cars were much less likely to catch fire than other vehicles, with hybrids being the most dangerous, followed by internal combustion engine vehicles.

The study confirms that 25.1 electric cars out of every 100,000 vehicles sold caught fire. This compares to a much higher figure for ICE cars: 1,529.9 (per 100,000 cars sold). In fact, the data confirmed that hybrid cars were the most likely to catch fire with 3,474.5 out of every 100,000 hybrid cars sold going up in flames. This is more than twice the number of cars using internal combustion engines, and many more than fully electric cars.

So why do electric cars have such a fiery and unfair reputation as a fire hazard? We think it’s because an electric vehicle on fire is much harder to put out – and therefore more spectacular – than a petrol or diesel car (on fire). In addition, once the initial fire has been extinguished, the fire brigade still has to monitor the vehicle from a distance, as it often starts to burn again.

Addax opts for safety and performance

For Addax, the choice of which battery type to choose depended on factors such as safety requirements, cycle life, energy density, and cost. It had a choice because not all lithium-ion batteries are the same, with different types using different cathode chemistries: nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA), nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) and the most recent one, lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP).

The first two – NCA and NCM – do offer a higher energy density, making them suitable for vehicles requiring a longer range, while LFP is ideal for a less energy dense type of battery. What’s more, LFPs (LiFePO4) do not contain any nickel or cobalt, which also makes them less expensive, and a perfect fit for relatively short range vehicles such as the Addax EUV.

For Addax, the benefits were clear:

  • Greater safety: LiFePO4 batteries are considered safer than conventional lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries due to the chemical stability of the iron phosphate cathode, which is less prone to thermal runaway and overheating. As a result, LiFePO4 batteries have a lower risk of fire or explosion, making them the preferred choice for applications where safety is paramount.
  • Better value for money: LiFePO4 batteries tend to be more cost effective than other types of lithium-ion batteries, particularly those containing cobalt. Quite simply, LiFePO4 batteries offer better long-term value due to their longer cycle life and higher durability. This means less frequent replacement resulting in lower total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the battery.
  • Lower environmental impact: More good news is that LiFePO4 batteries are considered more environmentally friendly than other types of lithium-ion batteries, particularly those containing cobalt or nickel. In fact, they do not contain heavy metals such as cobalt, which can be harmful to the environment if not disposed of properly. In addition, the materials used in LiFePO4 batteries are generally more abundant and less toxic, making them easier to recycle.
Addax pro LiFe

It’s true that some EVs, especially those with either nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA) or nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM) cathode-type batteries have been known to catch fire, but this is not the case with the battery model chosen by Addax. Safe, long lasting, and with a lower environmental impact, the LiFePO4 batteries chosen by Addax simply confirm that Addax is pro LiFe(PO4)!