Police Bodycam Footage Shows the Ford F-150 Lightning Fire That Sparked EV Safety Concerns
Police bodycam footage has surfaced of Dearborn police officers responding to the Ford F-150 Lightning fire that resulted in the plant temporarily halting production on the electric pickup truck for five weeks. The fire had erupted in a holding lot outside the Ford factory in Dearborn, Michigan. Aside from the truck that spawned the fire, it also spread to two neighboring trucks alongside it. According to the officers in the video, smoke from the fire could be seen “clear as day”.
According to Ford, the truck was in the middle of being charged in the holding lot for its pre-delivery quality check. They discovered that the cause of the fire was the result of an internal short circuit due to a faulty battery produced by its battery supplier, SK On.
Fire From The F-150 Lightning Has EV Customers Worried
Whenever a vehicle equipped with an internal-combustion engine catches on fire, emergency crews can have it extinguished in minutes. However, EV fires that result from malfunctions or crashes can take hours to put out due to the large battery cells keeping the flames alive.
This safety concern is a big issue many automakers are faced with given the growing push to produce and sell more electric vehicles in order to meet stricter emissions standards.
When responding to the fire, police officers said the three vehicles appeared to be “engulfed in flames” and one officer is heard on video hoping that they don’t “blow up.” Because the Ford F-150 Lightning, much like many other EVs is powered by Lithium-ion batteries, a fire can cause them to be very dangerous and increasingly burdensome to extinguish.
“They have to put like a whole *** lake on it to put them out,” said one officer when responding to the fire.
New Challenges for Firefighters
While car fires are not necessarily a new incident firefighters have to deal with, they do have the correct training required to deal with them in only a few minutes. However, EV fires have posed a new level of difficulty due to them taking hours to extinguish. When an EV catches fire, the battery cells equipped inside will cause a chain reaction of never-ending heat to be dissipated to its surroundings, which is known as “thermal runaway.” If the cause of the fire is not snuffed out, it will only worsen.
Some California firefighters were reported to have used approximately 6,000 gallons of water in order to put out a fire from a Tesla that had “spontaneously” erupted in flames.
According to the Dearborn Fire Department, they determined that one of the F-150 Lightnings was “un-extinguishable” and they needed to refer to a colleague with more knowledge and expertise with electric vehicles. Because the batteries fueling EV fires have proven to burn hotter and longer than ICE vehicles, firefighters will require new training methods to put them out in a safe and timely manner.