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Safe-Handling of e-vehicles after accidents: Recommendations for the rescue chain
Automotive and mobility applications

The number of battery electric vehicles is increasing in road traffic, which inevitably leads to increased accidents with battery systems. Fire departments are therefore increasingly confronted with accidental electric vehicles. However, there is still a noticeable degree of uncertainty when dealing with these vehicles. Identifying these potential uncertainties and providing solution concepts is a necessary step for human rescue and the safe handling of e-vehicles after accidents. In this context, the handling of the critical vehicle battery must be considered. The emergency service’s actual concerns and needs are elaborated through extensive research, a large-scale survey, and active exchange with the firefighters‘ associations. Two main points became evident in this respect.
On the one hand, the vehicle battery condition after the accident is a significant uncertainty factor. Utilizing thermal imaging measurements allows only very limited conclusions regarding the battery’s state due to the surrounding housing and shielding components. A possible concept for the rescue teams to estimate the battery condition is to directly read out the battery data and thus determine the condition based upon it. Communication data from the battery system or backend servers of the vehicle manufacturer is mandatory for such a readout box. Also, new concepts of including this data in the e-Call (e.g., in combination with Advanced Automatic Collision Notification AACN) seem promising. Therefore, a key demand is to provide the rescue chain with access to this data. With the help of information about the battery condition, the appropriate measures can be taken, and unnecessary actions can be avoided.
On the other hand, as far as the rescue of passengers from vehicles is concerned, fire firefighters take on a central role. Based on the results from our survey, it could be concluded that the level of knowledge and thus the approach to accidents with electric vehicles is quite different, especially among volunteer fire departments. The origin of the different levels of knowledge is mainly due to the federal structure of the fire departments. We consider it worthwhile to develop more easily available training concepts and intensify networking with other fire departments and actors of the rescue chain (e.g., police, towing companies, and accident experts) to address the relevant training needs in an application-oriented manner.
The recommendations derived from the project include a requirement for access to battery data in order to use a readout box to determine the battery condition. Furthermore, from our point of view, better networking of the rescue forces among themselves contributes to closing the knowledge gaps.

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K. Böhm, R. Görtz, J. Lausch, S. Lott, L. Schaffrath, H-G. Schweiger, B. Wegener