Click here to sign up
for DBI's newsletter

New fire extinguishing equipment for electric cars on ferries tested by DBI

Published: 24.04.23

A Danish company has tested the usability of its EV Firefighter in collaboration with DBI. The documentation is of great value to the Danish company in a new world market, which has a strong focus on finding ways to extinguish fires in electric cars.

The risk of a fire in an electric car is slightly less than in a conventional car, but if it burns, the consequences can be greater. Partly because a fire in an electric car battery can be difficult to extinguish, partly because the fire can flare up again and partly because it develops toxic smoke. It can be problematic if an electric car catches fire on a road, and serious if it catches fire in a multi-storey car park or on a ferry where it is difficult for a crew to put out a car fire on a full car deck and, in the worst case scenario, evacuate passengers.

It is also precisely mobile fire extinguishing equipment intended for ferries that has been the focal point of a project in which Jøni Aabybro has prompted DBI to test and document its usability in practice.

Further development of a fire-fighting container

Jøni Aabybro has 35 years of experience in building cargo platforms and trucks, but four years ago he became known both at home and abroad for his EV fire-fighting container for electric car fires, which the company developed together with the emergency services. Inspired by the fire-fighting container, Jøni Aabybro has since developed the EV Firefighter, where tubular frames with nozzles envelop the burning electric car in water mist from below and from the sides, thereby cooling the battery and preventing the spread of fire.

The EV Firefighter is already available in a variant for multi-storey car parks, where the assembled unit is pushed under and around the car from either the front or the rear. This is possible because the cars are parked next to one another in a car park. There is no room for this solution on a fully packed ferry deck with cars arranged in a row.

“That’s why we’ve developed a two-piece variant that the crew pushes in along the sides of the car from the front and back respectively,” says Jan Nyrup Jensen, Sales Manager in Jøni Aabybro and the inventor behind the innovative fire extinguishing equipment.

Huge value

The test set-up consisted of nine cars in three rows, so the middle car was closely surrounded by cars on all sides – just as a burning electric car would most likely be on a ferry deck. DBI was an observer, while crew members from a ferry pushed the units into position along and under the car and connected the fire hoses. It was a cold test where the car was not on fire, but during the last of the four tests, a smoke cannon shrouded the cars in smoke to simulate a smoke-filled car deck. Even though it took longer for the crew to get the EV Firefighter in place under this circumstance, it was still possible.

"This documentation is of huge value to us. Both in our marking of EV Firefighter and in its further development. DBI is good at asking all these tiresome questions," says Jan Nyrup Jensen, who mentions that based on feedback from DBI, he has changed the structure so that the wheels of the EV Firefighter cannot be stopped by mooring holes in the car deck.

Many categories of customers

There is already a great deal of interest in all or parts of EV Firefighter from shipping companies, but the perspectives for the mobile fire fighting equipment for electric car fires extend far beyond. For example, Jøni Aabybro is also in dialogue with car dealers and car repair shops, which have more and more electric cars standing in a limited area and can therefore have physical conditions that resemble a tightly packed car deck.

"We have been surprised by how much interest there is in our fire fighting equipment from abroad. For example, we were recently contacted by a large Norwegian chemical factory, where a third of the employees’ cars in the car park are electric cars, and where there is concern about what the many electric cars can mean for the factory’s fire safety," says Jan Nyrup Jensen.

More mobile fire fighting equipment on the way

Jøni Aabybro is busy developing more mobile fire fighting equipment for fires in electric and hybrid cars and their batteries. The first is EV Firegun, which is a spike with integrated drill and fire spray. It penetrates the battery from above via the cabin and sprays water directly into it. EV Firegun is intended as a supplement to EV Firefighter, where the latter prevents the spread of fire, while EV Firegun can extinguish the fire in the battery completely. Experience from ELBAS shows that penetration and firefighting directly into the battery is effective.

Another solution is the ConRobo EV. Where the existing EV fire-fighting container is only transported by truck, ConRobo EV is a fire-fighting container on belts or wheels. This means that – like another bomb disposal robot – it must be able to drive into e.g. a multi-storey car park with limited space, where the emergency services can pull an electric car, where the fire in the battery has been extinguished, but where there is a risk of resurgence, into the container. The ConRobo EV can then drive out, be lifted onto a truck and driven away. Apart from its self-propelled capability, the ConRobo EV operates on the same principle as an EV fire-fighting container, where a thermographic camera can keep an eye on the battery’s flare-ups. It is also possible to sprinkler the car in the container, just as it can be filled with INERGEN or water when it is switched off.

Read more

EV Firefighter used in the ELBAS project

In the recently completed DBI project ELBAS (Electric vehicle fires at sea: New technologies and methods to fight, contain and extinguish car battery fires on board ships) EV Firefighter was used as a portable water mist system, which can further reduce the risk of fire spreading to the surrounding cars. The use of water mist systems for electric car fires is one of the recommendations from the ELBAS project. Even though it is not necessarily possible to extinguish a fire in the battery, it can prevent the fire from spreading until the ferry arrives in port, where a professional emergency services can extinguish the fire.