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Discussion Starter #1
https://electrek.co/2019/07/27/hyundai-kona-ev-explodes-garage-blowing-door-off/

This prompted me to check to see who makes the Kona battery. Looks like Kona does, but the thing I found hard to believe is it looks like they are using LiPo batteries! I didn't think anyone would put LiPos in a vehicle. I've worked with those enough in RC applications that I don't trust them. I've seen them cause thermite-like fires even when they are charged on a balancing charger and not overcharged, show no bulging, are relatively new, and have had no "crash damage". The Kona EV was on my list to try and I'm sure glad I got a Bolt. I would never have even considered owning a Kona EV had I known they used LiPo batteries!

Who knows, this could turn out to be a fire that started somewhere else and spread to the car for all we know at this point... but I still don't trust LiPo batteries.

Mike
 

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Where did you read the Kona is Lithium-Polymer? Maybe your assuming the North American batteries are the same as the cars destined for China which have to be China sourced. From what I’ve read, this car that exploded would be supplied by LG Chem.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Where did you read the Kona is Lithium-Polymer? Maybe your assuming the North American batteries are the same as the cars destined for China which have to be China sourced. From what I’ve read, this car that exploded would be supplied by LG Chem.
I got it from the Wiki page for the Kona:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyundai_Kona

"Battery 64 kWh / 39.2 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery (Kona Electric)"

Of course, it could be an error. Where did you get the info that it is an LG battery? We could put in a Wiki correction if the Wiki page is wrong.

Edit: this prompted me to check more... it's also on the Hyundai specs page (under Mechanical): "Lithium Ion Polymer"...

https://www.hyundaiusa.com/kona-electric/specifications.aspx

Mike
 

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So we've seen reports of Tesla fires. Now this Kona fire. Have there been any reports of Bolt fires? Would a Bolt forum admit to it? :)
 

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I got it from the Wiki page for the Kona:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyundai_Kona

"Battery 64 kWh / 39.2 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery (Kona Electric)"

Of course, it could be an error. Where did you get the info that it is an LG battery? We could put in a Wiki correction if the Wiki page is wrong.

Edit: this prompted me to check more... it's also on the Hyundai specs page (under Mechanical): "Lithium Ion Polymer"...

https://www.hyundaiusa.com/kona-electric/specifications.aspx

Mike
I see here on the Hyundai official specs that it is indeed lithium-ion polymer.
https://www.hyundai.news/eu/press-kits/all-new-hyundai-kona-electric-technical-data-and-dimensions/
Admittedly, I don't know the differences between the lithium-ion vs the lithium-ion polymer chemistry and they seem to leave out the "polymer" descriptor in most articles I could find.
https://www.xautoworld.com/hyundai/2019-kona-electric-specs/
I can't find the article that explained the chemistry of the LG battery but suffice to say, it was not the same chemistry as the bolt. NCM811 was the spec for the Kona which is more energy dense yet lighter than the bolts NCM622? I think.
I find this statement though prescient based on the latest news.

"The whole 64 kWh battery pack weighs 452,94 kg, while the Chevrolet Bolt EV’s battery pack at 453,59 kg weighs basically the same.
If we consider that LG Chem rates (labels) the Bolt EV battery capacity at 57 kWh and assume that by using the same procedure the Kona Electric gets 64 kWh, we can do some calculations.
Chevrolet Bolt EV battery: 57 kWh and 453,59 kg (126 Wh/kg)
Hyundai Kona Electric battery: 64 kWh and 452,94 kg (141,3 Wh/kg)
At the battery pack level, the gravimetric energy density is 12,44 % higher in the Hyundai Kona Electric. I’ve to say that I was expecting something better for the NCM 811 battery cells, even if this is only the first generation of the new cathode chemistry and the improved second-generation with lithium metal anodes will arrive around 2020.
Nonetheless, with higher nickel content in the cathodes, batteries require better and more complex TMS (Thermal Management System) to keep them at safe temperature, this can contribute to add some weight and reduce the overall battery pack energy density."

I'm not saying that this is cause for concern or that there's any connection to the Bolt's battery though. We'll have to wait and see what the investigation uncovers.
 

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Admittedly, I don't know the differences between the lithium-ion vs the lithium-ion polymer chemistry and they seem to leave out the "polymer" descriptor in most articles I could find.
As explained here

https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/the_li_polymer_battery_substance_or_hype

"Lithium-polymer differs from other battery systems in the type of electrolyte used....To make the modern Li-polymer battery conductive at room temperature, gelled electrolyte has been added. Most Li-ion polymer cells today incorporate a micro porous separator with some moisture. Li-polymer can be built on many systems, the likes of Li-cobalt, NMC, Li-phosphate and Li-manganese, and is not considered a unique battery chemistry. The majority of Li-polymer packs are cobalt based; other active material may also be added."
 

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So we've seen reports of Tesla fires. Now this Kona fire. Have there been any reports of Bolt fires? Would a Bolt forum admit to it? :)
Sure, we'd admit it. It's just as far as I know, there haven't been any fires, even when involved in bad crashes. I think GM has taken a very conservative approach with their battery packs and with their OnStar monitoring, they pull the bad packs off the road before there ever is a fire. In addition they seem to have done a good job of protecting the cells in the event of a crash and perhaps the cells themselves are more robust. They also get criticized for slower charging rates but I will speculate that this is partly due to their desire to have the battery packs go the distance, but also reduce the chance of potential fire while charging.
 

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https://electrek.co/2019/07/27/hyundai-kona-ev-explodes-garage-blowing-door-off/

This prompted me to check to see who makes the Kona battery. Looks like Kona does, but the thing I found hard to believe is it looks like they are using LiPo batteries! I didn't think anyone would put LiPos in a vehicle. I've worked with those enough in RC applications that I don't trust them. I've seen them cause thermite-like fires even when they are charged on a balancing charger and not overcharged, show no bulging, are relatively new, and have had no "crash damage". The Kona EV was on my list to try and I'm sure glad I got a Bolt. I would never have even considered owning a Kona EV had I known they used LiPo batteries!

Who knows, this could turn out to be a fire that started somewhere else and spread to the car for all we know at this point... but I still don't trust LiPo batteries.

Mike

With my Bolt, I blew the doors off a BMW a couple of times...>:)
 

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So we've seen reports of Tesla fires. Now this Kona fire. Have there been any reports of Bolt fires? Would a Bolt forum admit to it? :)
Never been a Bolt fire. At least one that started out of thin air. Google all you want but in the two years they've been out... not one reported as 'suspicious fire' or even 'fire' period.
 

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Did remember a first generation Volt catching fire after being parked for a few days at a government facility...




... after it had been crash tested.
 

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I don't know why we pretend that fire is a major criteria for vehicle selection. Even if one vehicle is twice as prone as another to catch fire, it's so statistically improbable that it's not worth the attention it gets.

It reminds me of a Tweet some celebrity made saying they are fearful every time their children go out that police violence will end their lives. His Tweet was well received. Would the tweet have been so well received if he had said he's fearful every day that bees will end the life of his children? It's statistically many times more probable.

That isn't to minimize the tragedy people experience in improbable outcomes, but my point is that making something that is an incredibly small issue into a huge issue lacks any proportion or perspective. If more people are still dying from the impact of collisions in a vehicle than fires, that suggests attention is best given towards mitigating injury from impact than mitigating rare fires. If you have x amount of resources to make something as safe as possible, where do you spend those resources?

From what I've read, it seems all Tesla models are among the safest to crash in; the event most likely to occur.
 

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There are over 500 vehicle fires per day in the USA, about one in eight fire department runs are for vehicle fires.

Yet, when an EV catches fire, it’s somehow big news.

Maybe it’s big news because it happens so infrequently.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't know why we pretend that fire is a major criteria for vehicle selection. Even if one vehicle is twice as prone as another to catch fire, it's so statistically improbable that it's not worth the attention it gets.
I agree with you. But this one is a bit different for me. The Kona EV is new and they haven't sold very many and already one has exploded and blown a garage door off a house? Sure, maybe that was one in a million and it just happened to occur in the first 500 produced. Sure, maybe it wasn't even the car. Yes, we need more data.

But now that this has happened and I'm aware that the Niro and Kona use LiPo batteries, I'd be hesitant to even ride in one much less own one! I've been burned (pun intended) too many times by LiPo batteries and you will not convince me that they are safe. It's like eating escargot and ending up with a flesh eating amoeba from the undercooked snail... you won't find me eating any sort of snail after that. For me, that's how I feel about LiPo batteries. That could be irrational, but that's my problem. To Hyundai's credit, they seem to have sold a fair number of Ioniqs and those don't seem to be exploding with LiPo batteries so maybe it's not the battery.

Mike
 

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sure would be nice to get follow ups to these stories. for plane crashes I can always read an accident report after the investigation. for these stories and others we only hear crickets.
 

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A Kona blowing the door off a garage is sensational, and I'm interested to learn about those types of incidents too.

My comments were more generalized though, as these discussions usually devolve into "I wouldn't touch a Tesla because of the fires". I'll reiterate that I'm perfectly happy for people making purchasing decisions using any criteria they value. I just want to present a considered risk assessment in a public forum so that others have as clear a picture of the probability of fire as possible, so that their decisions are as informed as possible.

My guilty pleasure is plane crash investigations as they involve a series of very improbable circumstances occurring to result in catastrophe, often including serious pilot error. How does a mud hornet building a nest in a pitot tube bring down a passenger airplane? A series of very unfortunate circumstances.

... and whatever happened to that guy who fired a bullet into the battery pack of a brand new Model S while driving? A story that interesting shouldn't be left alone. What kind of person buys a new Tesla, under what circumstances does a handgun get discharged into the battery while driving, and what kind of person reports that it caught fire but omits the part about having shot it?
 

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There are over 500 vehicle fires per day in the USA, about one in eight fire department runs are for vehicle fires.

Yet, when an EV catches fire, it’s somehow big news.

Maybe it’s big news because it happens so infrequently.
I think the difference is the spontaneous nature of the battery fire. The traditional car fire occurs when either the car is in a crash, or when it's operating. The BEV fire has been shown to occasionally occur when the car is at rest. Often for hours. This kind of, parked spontaneous combustion, is exceedingly rare in an ICE car. So rare that I can't think of ever hearing about it although I'm sure it's happened.

This is why in another thread that asked about the down sides of owning a BEV, I listed this as a downside for those of us that park and charge the car inside the house. Fortunately, the house pictured above was caught early, so the house was saved. I intend to park and charge my Bolt in my attached garage once I get things rearranged in there, so I'm not scared to do it, but when I do, I will be mounting a smoke alarm very near the car.

This is still pretty new technology and we are all still test cases.
 

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Sure, we'd admit it. It's just as far as I know, there haven't been any fires, even when involved in bad crashes. I think GM has taken a very conservative approach with their battery packs and with their OnStar monitoring, they pull the bad packs off the road before there ever is a fire. In addition they seem to have done a good job of protecting the cells in the event of a crash and perhaps the cells themselves are more robust. They also get criticized for slower charging rates but I will speculate that this is partly due to their desire to have the battery packs go the distance, but also reduce the chance of potential fire while charging.
I suppose OnStar monitoring may have been a factor in the battery management system software update / recall last year, in terms of gathering data points. But there are thousands of Bolt EVs that don't have any OnStar connection at all, as none of the models shipped to Korea has the feature. And yet we have not heard of any Bolt EV fires. So I would say that Bolt EV's battery system is safer at the hardware level.
 

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By the way, there has also been an incident a couple of days ago in Korea where a Kona Electric caught fire while charging. It's not widely publicized, but a daily report for July 28, 2019 from the National Fire Agency quoted by a media does list the occurrence.

http://www.safetoday.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=44886

◆ Firefighting
❍ (Vehicle) Sinseok-dong, Gangneung City, Gangwon Province - 『Kona』
08:57~09:06, Caught fire during charging of EV, 1 minor injury, vehicle completely burned down, 1㎡ area of a building wall singed
 
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