Vermont State Police released this photo of the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV that caught fire in the driveway of State Representative Timothy Briglin, a Democrat, on July 1, 2021.
Vermont State Police
A Chevrolet electric vehicle owned by a Vermont state legislature who supported the industry recently caught fire while charging in the politician’s driveway, Vermont state police said.
The vehicle, a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV, is part of a recall of nearly 69,000 electric vehicles worldwide that was launched in November by. was announced General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is unknown if Rep. Timothy Briglin, a Democrat, whom Bolt took on for the recall.
The fire is the latest, which signals continued concern from automakers and vehicle security watchers if companies release an influx of new electric vehicles in the coming years. Automakers have touted the environmental benefits of electric vehicles time and again, however, the lithium-ion batteries that power the vehicles can be dangerous and cause significant chemical fires if something goes wrong.
Vermont State Police said the cause of the fire “appears to be an unspecified electrical failure” that had broken out in the passenger compartment near the back seat. The origin of the fire agrees with a. match a handful of previous fires reported to federal regulators and the company in Bolt EVs.
GM said in a statement sent to CNBC on Wednesday that it is working with local authorities and “will investigate to learn more about the specific situation of this incident”. A spokesman for the Detroit automaker declined to comment on the fire, including whether the recall repair was complete for the vehicle.
Briglin, an electric vehicle proponent and chairman of the State House’s Energy and Technology Committee, did not immediately respond to comment. Officials from the NHTSA, the local fire department, and the Vermont Department of Public Safety’s Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit investigating the fire also did not immediately respond to comment.
The fire was reported at Briglin’s home in Thetford, Vermont at around 9 a.m. Thursday, according to a Vermont State Police press release and public records. No injuries were reported.
GM recalled the vehicles in November over electrical fires allegedly caused by a rare manufacturing defect in certain battery modules in model year 2017-2019 vehicles.
The solution to this requires the installation of advanced onboard diagnostic software in the vehicles, which, among other things, is able to detect potential problems related to changes in battery module performance before problems can arise.
Customers must take their vehicles to a Chevrolet dealer to receive the repair.
EVs produced by Tesla were among the most commonly reported fires, including a high-performance Tesla Model S Plaid 2021 sedan last week. However, electric vehicle fires pose a potential problem for all businesses as the industry launches a fleet of new electric vehicles in the years to come.
“Safety must come first,” said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a Washington D.C. resident advocacy group, to CNBC. “There remain unanswered questions as to why there seems to be a growing trend for lithium-ion batteries to catch fire in vehicles.”
This Tesla Model S plaid caught fire while the driver was behind the wheel, according to a local fire chief and lawyers representing the driver in Haverford, Pennsylvania on June 29, 2021
Provided by Geragos & Geragos
The lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles are extremely complex and can lead to prolonged chemical fires in the event of problems or after a high-speed accident. Traditional internal combustion engine vehicles can catch fire as well, but it’s currently unclear whether electric vehicles pose a greater threat, according to Levine.
“There is still no good data on this,” he said. Regarding accidents, Levine questioned whether more fires are reported just because there are more electric vehicles on U.S. roads or whether electric vehicles are at higher risk of fire than vehicles with internal combustion engines.
Following reports of electric vehicle fires, the National Transportation Safety Board released a report last year on the risks to rescue workers from battery fires in electric vehicles. The NHTSA also released an earlier report earlier this year on a Battery Safety Initiative, which aims to collect and analyze data on the safety of electric vehicles, as well as specific investigations into electric vehicle accidents and non-crash-related events To carry out battery safety.
Levine said he was “encouraged” by the environmental benefits of electric vehicles, but more needs to be done regarding protocols and regulations for the safety of electric vehicles in the US above.
“This is the time to get this right,” he said. “Since both public and private infrastructure are really investing in the future of electric vehicles and the potential for them, we as the automotive field universe have our hands in making these things safe or as safe as possible.”