Electric cars in underground garages: will they soon have to stay outside everywhere? - by Jens Meiners

It is considered to be the heart of the otherwise vague “traffic turnaround”: electromobility with fully or partially electrified cars. The market shares are slowly increasing, mainly thanks to enormous subsidies of over 10.000 euros in some cases. But in addition to the many questions relating to range, costs and actual benefits for the environment, there is now also concern about safety. It has now led to the fact that, after Leonberg, a centrally located multi-storey car park in Kulmbach has been closed for electric and hybrid vehicles.


In Leonberg near Stuttgart, the Stromer in the Altstadt parking garage, "the best starting point for a visit to our historic old town" according to the city, must stay outside: "For reasons of fire protection law, electric and hybrid vehicles are currently not allowed to enter the Altstadt parking garage" , reports the Swabian small town succinctly. And now the operators of the Stadtmitte underground car park in Kulmbach, Upper Franconia, have also made nails. A car caught fire there last September - mind you, a classic combustion engine.

Are underground car parks blocked for e-vehicles?

The vehicle was successfully deleted, the garage has now been reopened - albeit with an entry ban for electric and hybrid cars. And there is a reason for that: e-cars do not burn very often, but if they catch fire, the danger is extremely high. A lot of water is regularly required for extinguishing. In addition, the batteries can re-ignite over and over again for hours or days with a very high level of heat and the emission of toxic fumes. That is why burning electric cars are sometimes sunk in huge water containers.

But they are as big as a truck, they don't fit in an underground or parking garage. And so there is a risk of uncontrollable fires with potentially catastrophic damage to the building's structure. The phenomenon of self-igniting electric and hybrid vehicles is by no means unknown. It wasn't until the weekend that a brand new VW Golf GTE - a plug-in hybrid with a large lithium-ion battery - caught fire out of the blue. While the passengers were still able to save themselves, the fire could hardly be extinguished, so that the car, which had only run 300 kilometers, ultimately had to be put in a special container.

Deleting electric vehicles is risky

According to the "Hessisch Niedersächsische Allgemeine", the crack of the exploding battery could be heard for miles. By the way: once an electric car is on fire, it is often not possible to save passengers who can no longer free themselves. And not only because of the extremely high temperatures of the burning batteries, but also because of the risk of arcing and electric shocks of up to 1000 volts. Charging stations pose further fire risks.

It remains to be seen whether and how other cities will react to the danger and how the issue will be dealt with in residential buildings with underground parking. Some of them may be based on the widespread restrictions on gas-powered vehicles - although these vehicles are much easier to extinguish than burning electric cars. Tenants in buildings with parking garages in particular are likely to be watching the issue with concern. Because now, of all times, the federal government wants to drastically restrict its right to prevent the installation of charging stations in shared spaces. (ampnet / jm)



1 comment to "Electric cars in underground garages: Do they have to stay outside everywhere soon? - by Jens Meiners"

  1. Rolf Franz Nieborg | 25. February 2021 15 to: 39 | Reply

    In my opinion, there is still a huge number of unforeseen problems facing society ...

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