House Fire Erupts as EV Owner Tries Toaster to Warm Car Battery, Faces Fine

  • Toaster Fire Incident: A Danish man caused an electric vehicle (EV) fire by using a toaster to warm the car’s battery, resulting in damage to homes and a fine for the owner.
  • Unconventional Warming Method: The EV owner placed the toaster under the car, leading to a blaze that damaged both his property and a neighbor’s, emphasizing the importance of proper warming techniques.
  • Limited EV Fire Risk: Despite this incident, EVs have a lower fire risk compared to gasoline cars. Only 25 out of 100,000 EVs catch fire, compared to 3,475 out of 100,000 gas-powered vehicles, based on 2022 data.
  • Causes of EV Fires: Typically, EV fires occur due to battery damage from factors like water exposure or accidents. Unlike gas-powered cars, EV fires can be more challenging to control, with risks of overheating and explosions.
  • Winter Challenges for EVs: Cold temperatures impact EVs, reducing fuel economy by 39-41% at 20°F. However, using kitchen appliances like toasters is not recommended. Plugging in the car before driving and using smartphone apps for pre-heating are suggested alternatives.
  • Preventive Measures: Experts recommend preheating EVs by plugging them in before use, avoiding battery drainage. Modern plug-in EVs often offer smartphone apps for convenient warming without resorting to unconventional methods.
House Fire Erupts as EV Owner Tries Toaster to Warm Car Battery, Faces Fine
House Fire Erupts as EV Owner Tries Toaster to Warm Car Battery, Faces Fine (Image: Dagens)

Toasters are handy for warming up Pop-Tarts and bagels, but attempting to use one to warm up an electric vehicle can lead to disastrous consequences, as demonstrated by a recent incident in Denmark.

A Danish man inadvertently triggered a fire that consumed his EV, resulting in both property damage to his and a neighbor’s home. Authorities disclosed that the probable cause of the fire was the toaster placed beneath the front of the car to maintain the battery’s temperature. According to the police’s daily report, “The cause of the fire is most likely to be found in the toaster that the owner of the car had placed under the front of his car to keep the battery warm,” (Source: AP).

Despite the destructive outcome, there were no injuries reported in the incident. The location of the incident was Stenlille, Denmark, situated approximately 40 miles from Copenhagen. Subsequent investigations by the police concluded that the toaster was likely responsible for the fire, leading to the EV owner being fined for his actions.

Contrary to common belief, electric vehicles are generally less prone to fires compared to their gasoline-powered counterparts. Statistics from 2022, as per Kelley Blue Book, indicate that only about 25 out of every 100,000 EVs sold catch fire, whereas the figure stands at 3,475 out of every 100,000 for gas-powered vehicles.

Navigating EV Safety and Performance Challenges

Typically, EV fires occur when there is damage to the EV battery, such as from water exposure or a collision. While the incidence of EV fires is relatively low, when they do occur, they pose greater challenges in terms of control compared to fires involving gasoline-powered cars. Batteries of electric vehicles can overheat or over-pressurize, leading to fires and explosions.

It’s essential to consider the impact of cold weather on an EV’s performance. During winter months, an EV’s fuel economy can decrease by approximately 39-41% at temperatures as low as 20°F, according to the EPA and Energy Department. However, resorting to unconventional methods, such as using kitchen appliances like toasters, is unnecessary.

To address the issue of maintaining an EV’s performance in cold weather, Argonne National Laboratory’s Center for Transportation Research, in a 2016 discussion with Business Insider, recommended preheating the EV by plugging it in before driving. Moreover, many plug-in EVs now come equipped with smartphone apps that allow users to warm up their vehicles with a simple tap on their screens.

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