Fire Protection for Garages and Charging Infrastructure

In urban environments, parking spaces with modern charging infrastructure are becoming increasingly common these days. This results in new challenges for fire protection as reports of burning electric cars are worrying not only for the owners but also for the operators and designers of parking garages.

The registrations for electric vehicles have almost doubled in the last few years. It was found that changes in vehicle types, design and equipment, irrespective of their motorization, have an impact on fire behaviour. This is primarily due to the increasing use of combustible materials, especially plastics. In the event of a fire, these contribute to the release of toxic smoke gases and to heat generation. The larger and heavier the vehicle, the more intense the fire event.

Greater fire load in modern vehicles

Usually, the batteries in electric cars are housed in an enclosure mounted under the vehicle floor, which hinders direct cooling and allows the fire to spread to the entire vehicle and the surroundings. In addition, the vehicle itself makes it difficult for the extinguishing agent to reach the source of the fire since in most cases it is discharged via a ceiling-mounted firefighting system. Due to the extensive fire loads and high temperatures, the aim of firefighting systems is to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to adjacent vehicles and to reduce elevated heat radiation to the building structure. In order to develop effective firefighting systems, it was first necessary to define the fire load of modern passenger cars.