Exploding Kona Electric

Discussion in 'Hyundai Kona Electric' started by apu, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. dborn

    dborn New Member

    I'm not sure even a halon system could deal with a burning Li-ion battery fire (assuming this is what happened to that poor Kona) but I'm no specialist. I know you need oxygen to have fire but still...

    Honestly, the safest and easiest solution is to install your EVSE outside and leave the car outside too.
  2. mikeselectricstuff

    mikeselectricstuff Active Member

    The EVSE is a minimal risk as it's just a switch - better to have it inside if possible to reduce risk of rain & UV damage over time
    electriceddy likes this.
  3. My EVSE is located right beside the new surge protected 200A panel I also installed inside my house. I use the old meter base cavity (with a hinged insulated door ) c/w a 4" bushed hole to feed out the cord. Sorry - no phone to take pictures with ( I bricked it) but here is a shot I took some months ago of the outside:
    I also installed a 5-20R GFCI receptacle in case the EVSE stops working.
    Domenick and XtsKonaTrooper like this.
  4. SeanH

    SeanH Member

    That's the fun part about a Lithium "fire" (which we should really just call a "thermal event" or something). It doesn't need (external) oxygen. There are metal oxides inside the battery. The reaction is also exothermic. This means that not only will it get hotter in a runaway fashion, but as it heats up it will strip the oxygen off of the metal oxides to fuel the reaction.
    The best way to "put out" a lithium battery is to cool it down. Depriving it of external fuel and oxygen helps it not spread, but doesn't actually put it out.
    dborn and apu like this.
  5. dborn

    dborn New Member

    I wasn't thinking of the EVSE being a fire risk but rather keeping it simple while parking & charging the car outside. Unless you can set something up like electriceddy, just keeping everything outside will have minimal risk on the house/garage integrity and provide higher peace of mind to the owners as well. At least for those who could lose sleep over it.
    @SeanH that's what I thought but wan't sure enough to make an affirmation...
  6. Just inside the garage (if you have one) on the wall close to the door is a popular location, protecting from elements yet available to charge inside or outside (of course depending on cord length).
  7. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    No, a halogen fire suppression system would not help much with a li-ion battery fire. In fact, it would probably be a complete waste of your money to install one, if what really concerns you is a BEV battery fire. The problem is that once a li-ion battery pack starts burning, if you put out the fire it tends to keep re-igniting, so long as the battery pack still contains a lot of energy. If you can discharge the pack more or less completely, then apparently it's much easier to keep it from re-igniting once it's extinguished. But grounding the pack and draining it safely, without exposing yourself to electrical hazard, isn't going to be easy at all. It's a difficult task even for trained emergency responders.

    Halogen fire suppression systems are, if I recall what I was taught in a fire safety class long ago, intended to drive out oxygen in an enclosed area, but then the halogen dissipates within a relatively short time after release. So, good for putting out almost any fire quickly, but not good at all to keep a li-ion battery pack from re-igniting after the halogen dissipates.

    Fire safety instructions for a BEV battery fire call for the battery pack to be constantly cooled, or at least watched to make sure fire doesn't re-start, for 48 hours after the fire is supposedly extinguished.

    eastpole likes this.
  8. MarkS

    MarkS New Member

    I'm amazed by how much the current owners are trying to minimizing the two Kona EV fires. I don't care how many people get killed crossing the street or how many ICE cars burn, that's irrelevant. This reminds me of how a lot of the Samsung Note 7 owners minimized the battery fires on those phones, many refusing to send their phones in until the IMEI was blocked by all carriers to force them.

    I can tell you that as a potential buyer that had the Kona EV on my short-list, I won't purchase until I know the results of the investigation of the two fires (the one in Canada and the one in Europe).
    KiwiME likes this.
  9. TheLight75

    TheLight75 Active Member

    ...that and Halon has been banned for 25 years since it chews holes in the ozone layer. I like Novec1230 but NOT helpful for Li-Ion fires...
    electriceddy likes this.
  10. Good luck with that, I'm sure Hyundai won't loose any sleep over your trepidation.
  11. I get your point, but it is statistically much more unlikely. There are more than 150 ice cars on fire every day in the US! How many have you heard of? In the last week? In the last month? If you heard of a lot, then probably 2-3?

    The percentage of electric cars that caught on fire and you have heard of is, what? Close to 100%?

    Don't tell me that your perception isn't skewed.

    Again, yes, I too would like to know what happened. I drive a Kona and as you might know I am in Vegas and in 40C/100F degree weather.

    But because of that losing sleep over it, or even not consider buying one for all the other reasons that outweigh the downsides of it? And let's be honest, there is downsides. But, nope!

    If you are consistent with your opinion of not wanting a car that could catch fire, then you cannot buy an ice car either! You have to ride your bike or walk.

    Sent from my moto x4 using Tapatalk
  12. Here's how I look at it. Spontaneous fires in cars are rare whether ICE or EV. And they rarely cause death. I still remember quite a few years ago, when Audi cars were catching fire going up hills (eg. the Coquihalla Hwy), but don't recall anyone dying.

    However, there are many other car defects that have caused many deaths, such as tires, brakes, ignition switches, gas tanks, unintended acceleration, roll-overs, etc, etc. But the greatest danger by far is the defect behind the wheel, whether it is drunk driving, distracted driving, running red lights, or whatever. So besides trying to save the planet with driving my Kona EV, I also want a car with the latest and best safety tech. That's what is most important to me.

    I should mention that I also ride a bike (incl 3 electrics of course), and on the streets, that is even more dangerous with all the cars, some of which deliberately try to push you off the road (yeah, it's happened to me). Mountain biking which I really love is far safer, even with the odd crash (and I have had more than a few).

    And yeah, I want to see the results of the Kona fire and others. But the chances of that happening with mine and killing me are statistically so low, it is just not a consideration. I put it in the same category as getting hit by lightening.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  13. eastpole

    eastpole Member

    I think many of us try to judge risks relative to other risks. I suppose a person might try to have some absolute sense of how big a risk a battery fire is in Kona EVs, perhaps by saying "There have been two fires!!!!"

    It's true that there are a lot of gas car fires each day in the US, but then again there are a lot of gas cars in the US compared to Kona EVs, worldwide. So the probability is the number of fires over the total number of cars of that type.

    But the problem is that risks are probabilities of loss in the future. It makes no sense to talk about the two owners who have lost their vehicles as having a 100% chance of fire and rest of us having 0% chance of fire (so far.) In reality each of us has a small but real risk of this event happening. Since it's small, it's hard to know what the risk measure (e.g. you have P=0.00001 of fire) means without **comparing it to other risks** we are comfortable taking, or risks we work to avoid.

    I used to think about this stuff a lot when I had a long freeway drive to get to the parachuting drop zone. :)
    Esprit1st and R P like this.
  14. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Hmmm, I see I mixed up "halon" with "halogen". "Halon" is correct. And my info is woefully out of date, since halon fire suppression systems were banned years ago due to environmental impact concerns.

    I wonder why they don't just use nitrogen? Any inert, non-reactive gas should do as well as halon.

  15. nigels

    nigels Active Member

    BC-Doc and electriceddy like this.
  16. Good find nigels !
    All seemed to have exploded at around the same time as the Montreal incident, hot weather may be the common denominator. I wonder if the TMS was active while the vehicles were off but it would have to be in the high 90s or 100 for that to happen. Wierd:confused:
    I notice none of these incidents have yet made the Wiki burn list (have patience - its after the somewhat lengthy Tesla section):
    Does anyone out there have a Wiki account to update this important information?
    If not I will pursue it myself.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
    nigels likes this.
  17. nigels

    nigels Active Member

    Some of these fires seem to have originated in the rear of the vehicle: the melted rear wheel in the Montreal explosion, and some of the fires in Korea. It’s pure speculation, but I wonder if the issue is with the second battery pack under the rear seats? It would be good to see some results of the post mortems.
  18. The battery is all in one sealed enclosure. The damage to the rear tire is certainly the result of heat rising wherever it can, same as the hood underside which is why the front tire was somewhat spared.
    One fire reported some time ago was in Norway I think, outside a dealer, snow on the ground, appeared to be AC charging.
  19. ForceEdge

    ForceEdge New Member

    Hmm, this honestly worries me a little about purchasing one out right.
  20. Working the numbers:
    22,787 sold in 2018
    19,303 (up to May 2019)
    Total global: 42,090
    5 reported fires in Korea, 1 in Finland and 1 in Canada equals 42,083 remaining
    Works out to one in every 6012 Kona EVs
    Haven't done the math on Tesla but with more global sales probably similar #s
    If you are in Canada ( and USA has limited sales as well) we are WAY under the quota so I wouldn't worry about it - I certainly am not
    Domenick likes this.

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