The Chevy Bolt faces an uncertain future, mostly because the once-promising electric vehicle started burning up in driveways and garages. Any momentum the Chevy Bolt picked up, thanks to its design and relatively low price, hasn’t been enough to overcome the fires and GM’s half-measures. But a new study citing the NTSB and NHTSA claims that EVs in the U.S. actually light on fire at a much lower rate when compared to ICE cars and hybrids, as Kelly Blue Book reports.
The study claims that hybrids are actually involved in the most car fires out of every 100,000 cars sold, outnumbering the number of fires involving both fully-electric cars — like the Chevy Bolt — and ICE cars combined. From KBB:
Analysts from AutoInsuranceEZ examined data from the National Transportation Safety Board to track the number of car fires and compared it to sales data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The result? Hybrid-powered cars were involved in about 3,475 fires per every 100,000 sold. Gasoline-powered cars, about 1,530. Electric vehicles (EVs) saw just 25 fires per 100,000 sold.
Of course, given the lower number of hybrid cars on U.S. roads, the number of most fires in total still goes to ICE cars. The study says gas-powered cars saw 199,533 fires. Hybrid cars accounted for 16,051 fires. Fully-electric cars came in with 52 fires total. The study claims these figures are for the entire year of 2021.
The study also looked at the number of U.S. cars recalled for fire risk in 2020. Again, the biggest number belonged to ICE cars, with 1,085,800 vehicles recalled. A total of 152,000 fully-electric cars were recalled. And 32,100 hybrids were recalled. KBB reports the number of fully-electric recalls is probably going to be much bigger in 2021, after adding the Chevy Bolt recalls for that year.
Interestingly enough, the fire risk recalls for both EVs and hybrids both trace back mostly to the car’s batteries. Except that in hybrids, the risk of fire did produce more instances of actual fires. And for reference, the fire risks among ICE cars were mostly down to electrical shorts.
The stats are surprising due to the coverage EV fires have gotten across many media outlets, including from us. Chalk it up to the novelty of EVs, maybe. It’s really no surprise that electric cars are going to be scrutinized more than their combustion-powered counterparts. But what is most surprising is that among these methods of propulsion, hybrids proved to be the most fire-prone.