Rise of EVs Risks Wave of ‘Catastrophic’ Shipping Fires


  • Capt. Rahul Khanna, global head of marine consulting at Allianz, says it’s going to be very difficult to find the exact cause of the fire that sank the Felicity Ace.
  • The problem with EVs, Khanna says, is that lithium-ion batteries in EVs can actually propagate the fire, igniting more vigorously as compared to conventional cars.
  • If EVs are not lashed or adequately lashed and a vessel encounters bad weather, the cars can become loose, have an impact, and cause a fire, the captain says. A single vehicle fire could prove catastrophic.

The increasing demand for electric cars risks causing a wave of fires on cargo ships as they are not designed to carry lithium batteries safely, reports Autoweek quoting a major insurer.

Fire onboard Felicity Ace car carrier

The recent fire aboard and sinking of the Felicity Ace car carrier brings up a very interesting question: As the world quickly switches to electric cars, how are we going to get them from factories to showrooms, especially when they have to cross oceans?

The cause of the Felicity Ace fire could have just been a cleaning rag that fell onto a hot grill in the galley. It could have been a lit cigarette accidentally dropped in the engine room.

Or, and this is the scariest possibility, it could have been caused by a runaway thermal event in an electric car somewhere in the darkest confines of a parking area below deck.

And if it could happen on the Felicity Ace, could it happen on just about any car-carrying ship anywhere?

Increasing demand for electric cars

A new report by marine insurance specialist Allianz provides some insight. Allianz was not directly involved in the Felicity Ace as an insurer, but the company is heavily involved in maritime insurance. You can read the Allianz report here.

Click here for the conversation with Capt. Rahul Khanna, global head of marine consulting at Allianz (AGCS).

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Source: Autoweek


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