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Vehicle Fire

A car or vehicle fire is a serious event that damages vehicles, people, surrounding property, and the environment. Preventive measures based on fire testing and research can reduce the risk of fires in cars, electric cars, and other vehicles.

What causes a car fire? 

A car fire can have several causes. It can occur due to an electrical fault or short circuit, where the electrical fault leads to overheating and fire in the vehicle. Another cause can be a leakage, where a flammable liquid or gas finds an ignition source. 

New challenges for fire safety in vehicles 

Regardless of whether a car fire, bus fire, or truck fire occurs, it poses serious threats to life safety, property, and the environment. In our society, new energy carriers such as natural gas, biogas, hydrogen, and batteries are introduced. In addition, new materials and technologies are introduced in vehicles, such as solar panels and automation. These vehicle developments bring new fire challenges that we must learn to deal with.

Are fires in electric cars more common?

Research shows that fires in electric vehicles are not more common than in fossil fuel vehicles. What distinguishes a fire in an electric vehicle from a fire in a fossil fuel vehicle is that a fire in batteries is difficult to extinguish. In a free-burning situation, the fire behaviours are very similar, but it is difficult to get an extinguishing agent into the battery. This means that when dealing with electric vehicle fires, it is instead central to suppress the fire and prevent it from spreading.

You can read more about car fires and vehicle fires in this document "Facts and Myths About Fires in Battery Electric Vehicles" from the research in LASH FIRE.

New energy carriers, new materials, new infrastructure, and new services introduce new societal risks. RISE seeks to mitigate them, to enable future-proof and sustainable technologies to be introduced in a safe manner.

How you can prevent vehicle fires

As a car fire usually has serious consequences, it is necessary to take preventive measures. Fire safety in cars, electric cars, trucks, buses, trains and ships is to a large extent about preventing and minimising the risk of fires. For individuals, fire safety includes having easily accessible fire extinguishing equipment and avoiding flammable products in the car. Furthermore, it is important to keep the vehicle in a good condition, for example by attending to damages and keeping the engine compartment clean and maintained.

How RISE improves vehicle fire safety

Through RISE research and testing in fire and safety, we work to prevent and improve management of fires in cars, electric cars, and other vehicles. We are a world leader in evaluating fire safety in several areas, and vehicle fire safety is one of our most important topics. RISE enables fire-safe technology development through fire research, testing, investigations, risk assessment, and training in vehicle fire safety.

Our activities in vehicle fire safety 

With our long expertise and solid knowledge in fire safety, we are used to dealing with complex issues and challenges. Our activities include testing in car fires, bus fires, lorry fires, ship fires, train fires, and fires in road and off-road vehicles. We are also involved in certification, accident investigation, and risk assessment in vehicle fires. Often, we work on long-term projects with clients, but we also help with ad hoc testing.

CNG vehicle container fire tests performed by RISE

For insight into our work, please have a look at the following publications:

The following projects related to vehicle fire safety are currently active:

More information

FIVE - Where international fire expertise meets

Every second year, RISE organizes FIVE - Fires in Vehicles, an international conference where scientists, regulators, test engineers, industry, suppliers, insurance companies and other organisations from the diverse field of transportation gather to discuss important fire issues.

Do you wish to follow our activities via email?

You will find useful information on testing, research and development concerning transport and vehicle fire safety in our newsletter. Subscribe here.

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Anders Lönnermark

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+46 10 516 56 91

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Franz Evegren

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+46 10 516 50 88

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