article: Plug-in Hybrid

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As has been well documented with Rc aircraft and especialy boats...
When puntured, they have a tendency to catch fire, or explode. reason is simple - LITHIUM. Lithium + water --> lithium hydroxide + hydrogen + ENERGY
Admitedly, if you put a piece of lithium in water, it just melts and fizzes, but its also at or below room temp - a battery isn't. Also, unlike potassium, and sometimes sodium, it doesn't get hot enough ina nd of itself to make the hydrogen produced light. HOWEVER batterys do get warm, there's lots of electrical sparts, and metal on metal. At least a hydrogen tank is design to rupture safe, and, being a gas, will dissipate the longer it goes without a spark. no so with lithium - it constantly generates more hydrogen (moisture in the air, donchaknow).
Anyway, thats just what i've read in the dangers of the battery type in crash impacts. YMMV
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How does that compare to a thin steel can full of 20 gallons of gasoline?
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On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 06:16:39 -0400, "Steve Bigelow"

1) generally not mounted by amateurs. 2) you have a fixed quantity of fuel, which is a liquid with flamable vapours. drain the liquid, move it away, no problem. a series of batteries is both producing its own combustion fuel as it goes along, PLUS lithium burns itself.
Puncturing a petrol tank does not automatically lead to fire. puncturing a lithium based battery can. I don't have bond energy's to hand, so i'm not sure if it'd be preferable to have it hydrogenate, or combust. maybe both happens - i've yet to see it happen under controlled conditions.

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Nonsense;gas,hydrogen,and electric vehicles all have specific hazards,and one is not necessarily worse than the others. And emergency workers are already practicing tactics to handle hybrids,and toxic chemical spills from other sources.
And how often do you thiink these cells are going to be -punctured-?
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They are quantifyable by risk, likelyhood, ability to contain, size, quantity of fuel, combustion level, etc.
If one type scores significantly worse than the others in these 'ratings' then its clear they're worse. Thats common sense.

Yes, emergency workers are practiced at toxic chemical spills - they're called 'hazmat workers'. I got some time in with a unit based in the Bay area a few years back. Their training and equipment is a long way from your common or garden variety firefighter.
I live in a medium-size town in rural Georgia. Theres a US highway or two here, an interstate not far away, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is just up the road, and yet i gave a friend of mine a call about 5 minutes ago over at the fire department - They can deal with nickle and lead based hybrids, but not lithium. That would require equipment from either Atlanta, Macon or Columbus. This is after its discovered of course, and as you well know, water based extinguishants can not, and should not be used.
By contrast, hydrogen fires tend to be very quick, and explosive IF ignited, the quickest, and easiest way to deal with a hydrogen fire is dispursement, dissipating it so that it doesn't ahve the ability to make a sustained combustion (I'm sure you all remmeber about filling test tubes with hydrogen at school, then lighting them for their 'squeaky pop' and also that if you didn't contain it right, it'd not fire as it would have spread)
Besides, going back to the point of the article, someone retrofitted. Since the vehicle is not instantly identifyable, or recognisable as cominaing lithium based batteries(of whatever condition) whats stopping the local responding tender using a water, or water-based extinguishant to dampen down, and attempt to reduce the probability of a conflagration. Hell, if the accident happens in the rain, or with snow around. water + lithium (or any group 1 metal for that matter) = BAD
Let me also regale a little story, of an old chemistry teacher i once had, and how she was fired. It explains this very point.
She was working, preparing an experiment for what would in the US be a first or second year college class. She was making some magnesium oxide for analysis by the class. A piece of the ribbon she was burning fell off her tongs, and near the other pieces she'd prepped (the big jar was locked back up in the storeroom) and in her 'panic' she swiped them, with her gloved hand, into the sink, and started the water. The resulting back destroyed half the bench (benches in those classrooms had sinks every 4 ft). Thaknfully, it was pre-lesson prep, but the classroom was out of action for 3 months. Magnesium is a lot less reactive than lithium is, and that was maybe 2oz of mag strips. She got fired for not only leaving the mag out, but for tossing it in the sink, with the water instead of using a piece of aluminium foil to smother it (Magnesium burns in strips, only because it doesn't have the heat taken away, something like a dinnerplate isn't flamable, as it would never stay hot enough to continue combustion) Think about it.

about as often as a gas tank does. They can rupture sometimes due to their own heat, or from impact/shock damage. A lot of the model aircraft that have caught fire or exploded had few metal parts, and impacted the flat, penetrative-object free rgound. A car is not shaped like a brick wall, with uniform density.
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Hello, You may be too young to remember the news stories related to the gas tanks of Pintos exploding. I believe they were made by Ford. When other vehicles crashed into the back of Pintos--the gas tanks would explode. Many people were killed. You should do a google search for Pinto and you may be able to find a some reports about this subject. They quit making Pintos due to the explosions. Jason
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On Wed, 17 Aug 2005 10:00:25 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@nospam.com (Jason) wrote:

Some people say the same things about Crown vic Interceptors.
Its not that i'm 'too young' its that 'i'm not american'.
howeve, the relevence is valid. rear-based lithium batteries end up with a crash situation similar to that of the pinto. The problem, however, is that the battries are an electrical medium, a spark i likely - a lot moreso that a mechanically generated spark around a gas tank.
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John, You do NOT have to ever buy a hybrid vehicle. You did NOT mention how far you drive each day or how much you pay for gas each month. If you live close to where you work, I don't think that anyone would advise you to buy a hybrid vehicle since they cost much more then a non-hybrid vehicle. I don't do much driving so I will never buy a hybrid vehicle due to the cost. However, if I lived 50 miles from where I worked, I would buy a hybrid vehicle and plug it in every night since the price of gas is going higher and higher and higher. Jason
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