Toronto, Ontario — January 31, 2020–
Elephants in the room
Electric vehicle battery fires could require firefighters to use almost 10,000 litres of water to quench, a senior New Brunswick firefighter has said. To put that into perspective, 10,000 litres would fill a cube measuring 2.1 m on each side. It would weigh as much as two bull African elephants.
“The hybrid plug in any electric vehicles, they pose some unique challenges for first responders,” fire captain David Candy of Riverview, N.B. to Global New, who approached him about the special electric vehicle training he provides to other firefighters. “They could need up to 2,600 gallons [9,842 litres] of water to put out these high voltage batteries.”
In the interview, Candy added that, while generally safe, electric vehicle fires were especially dangerous because they have been known to reignite a full day after being put out.
Toronto Council has voted to accept a plan that will add 650 fast charging stations by the end of the decade, as well as 10,000 secondary charging stations.
According to the plan, 225 of the fast charging stations will be constructed by 2025.
The decision is part of a broader strategy to ensure all transportation within Canada’s cultural capital are electric by the middle of this century.
Passenger-owned vehicles make up 30 percent of the city’s overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Not everyone is convinced that access to charging stations will facilitate the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. Engineering professor Rupp Carriveau recently spoke about the challenges EVs pose to power distribution infrastructure.
“I don’t think the challenge will be capacity, but more one of distribution,” said University of Windsor civil engineering professor Rupp Carriveau, director of the school’s Environmental Energy Institute in an interview with the Windsor Star. “There may be plenty of capacity, but they’ll also need to know where those EVs are clustered. You need that detailed knowledge because the transformer for a neighbourhood might not be able to handle it.”