Tesla Battery Fire Investigation

In recent years, Electric Vehicles (EVs) have surged in popularity, representing the fastest-growing category in car sales globally. In 2023, they accounted for 14% of all new vehicle sales worldwide. However, this rapid growth has presented unique challenges, particularly concerning the safety of the batteries powering these vehicles. The occurrence of fires in EVs has raised concerns among manufacturers, emergency responders, and policymakers alike.

What Causes EV Fire?

Thermal runaway is the primary cause of fires in EVs. This occurs when the lithium-ion battery undergoes an increase in temperature from an external source, leading to an exothermic chemical reaction within the cells. These exothermic reactions produce their own heat, which in turn, leads to further chemical reactions. This self-perpetuating process results in an uncontrollable rise in temperature, eventually resulting in the ignition of the battery and, in some cases, the vehicle itself.

EV Firesafe

EV Firesafe is an organisation supported by the Australian Government that play a crucial role in providing vital information and training to emergency responders regarding electric vehicle safety. Recently, a Tesla Model 3 had been involved in an accident on the Hume Highway resulting in significant damage to the vehicle and a fire that took emergency responders more than 30 mins to extinguish. This car was received by EV Firesafe and through an examination of the wreckage, it was confirmed that thermal runaway was the main culprit for the fire. The burnt-out Tesla has provided valuable insights for fire authorities and emergency responders on how to handle EV fires safely.

Despite the alarming nature of EV fires, statistical data suggests that the likelihood of such incidents occurring is comparable to that of traditional petrol car fires. Fire Rescue NSW's annual reports indicate responding to approximately 2,500 petrol car fires annually, a figure significantly higher than EV fires, which account for one-twentieth of this number. Therefore, while EV fire risks are unique, they are not disproportionately higher than those associated with conventional petrol vehicles. Statistics show that EVs are much safer compared to traditional vehicles, with EV fires occurring far less frequently. Additionally, insurance data reveals that most lithium-ion battery fires involve e-scooters, e-bikes, and e-skateboards, with no claims for electric vehicle fires or chargers reported by Allianz.

Nevertheless, the unique characteristics of lithium-ion batteries needs a proactive approach to safety measures. Manufacturers must continue to invest in research and development to enhance the thermal management systems of EVs and minimise the likelihood of thermal runaway. Additionally, emergency responders require specialised training and to effectively manage EV-related incidents and mitigate potential hazards.

Preventing EV fires

Government policies play a crucial role in addressing EV safety concerns. As the automotive industry transitions toward electric mobility, regulatory frameworks must evolve to ensure the safe integration of EVs into the transportation ecosystem. This includes standards for battery safety, infrastructure development for charging stations, and incentives to encourage EV adoption while addressing safety concerns.

Public awareness and education are also crucial to combat misinformation about EV risks and prevent false perceptions of danger. Providing information on safe lithium-ion battery management is essential.


In conclusion, while the rise of Electric Vehicles presents unprecedented opportunities for sustainable transportation, it also poses unique challenges, particularly concerning battery safety. By investing in research, training, and regulatory frameworks, we can ensure the safe and sustainable integration of EVs into our communities.


Dudley-Nicholson, Jennifer. (2024). Electric wreck picked to bits in pursuit of fire safety. https://www.aap.com.au/news/electric-wreck-picked-to-bits-in-pursuit-of-fire-safety/