Electromobility and road tunnel safety

  • 7/26/18 4:35 PM
  • Kirsten Oswald

Recent study concludes that electromobility may affect hazard situation in road tunnels

The recently published report finalizing a joint research project of the Federal Roads Office analyzes the potential impacts of increased electromobility in terms of road tunnel safety. The study and corresponding report entitled “Electric mobility and road tunnel safety – hazards of electric vehicle fires” were conducted by Amstein + Walthert Progress AG in collaboration with Versuchsstollen Hagerbach AG.

Results from a real tunnel experiment show that the fire risk of electric vehicles is similar to that of conventional ones. However, if ventilation in the tunnel is insufficient, fires from electric vehicles can lead to more severe fire threats as heavy metals like cobalt, lithium and manganese, contained in batteries, are emitted as aerosols. As these metals are more plentiful in electric vehicles, they can reach concentrations in fire emissions that are dangerous for humans and the environment. The analysis concludes that existing tunnel operation and safety measures are adequate to manage such fires, yet new incident procedures may need to be introduced as electric vehicles increase on the road.

For more details, download the full report (in German) from Mobilityplatform.