Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

Hybrid and Electric Vehicles
March 2013 Fire Training
What is the difference
between a hybrid vehicle
and an electric vehicle?
What are some potential risks
associated with hybrid and
electric vehicles involved in
emergency incidents?
Vehicle Accident/Extrication
Hybrid Vehicles
Internal combustion engine and electric motor
< 30 mph – Battery power
> 30 mph – Gasoline engine
Batteries charge as you drive
Electric Vehicles
• Require an external
source to recharge
• Regenerative Braking
HV Battery
Volts, Amps, and Current
• Electrical potential in a circuit
• Electromotive force
• Example - PSI in hose stream
• Current – Number of electrons moving past a
fixed point in one second
• Current is measured in amps
• Low current can be harmful if backed by a
significant amount of voltage
Direct Current (DC)
• Electrons move in one direction
• Mostly found in things that are powered by
• 12-volt battery
Alternating Current (AC)
• Travels in multiple directions
• Power used to supply homes and businesses
• AC has the ability to readily change voltages
• For current to flow there most be a completed
• Hybrid/Electric vehicles can operate in
excess of 100 amps or 10,000 milliamps
– 6 milliamps – Unable to let go of conductor
– 70 milliamps – Burns
– 105 milliamps – Heart stops
Types of Hybrids
• Full
• Mild
• Start-Stop
• Plug-in
Full Hybrid
• Most hybrids on the road
• Electric motor either assists engine or propels
the vehicle at low speeds
– Toyota Prius, Ford Escape
Mild Hybrid
• Electric motor is only designed to assist the
gasoline engine
• Does not propel the vehicle
– Honda Civic, Honda Insight
Start-Stop Hybrid
• Intermediate voltage system
• Allows the engine to shut down instead of
• Electric engine does not propel the vehicle
– Chevy Malibu
Pure Electric
• Nissan Leaf (weighs 660 lbs.)
• Average 73 miles on full charge
• Zero Gas – 100% electric
Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV)
• Can travel 40 miles on battery power alone
• Onboard gasoline engine turns the electric
generator and recharges the battery
• Chevy Volt
High Voltage Batteries
• Nickel Metal Hydride (Hybrid)
– 100-400 volts
• Lithium Ion (Electric)
• Location in Hybrids is almost always located in
the truck or under second row seats
• Located under the floor in electric vehicles
What should high voltage mean to you?
• Orange Cables
– > 60 volts
• Yellow or Blue cables
– Intermediate voltage system
• 12 volt battery
• For current to flow, there must be a completed
• DC-DC Converter
– Takes high voltage battery to 12-volts to power things
like the radio, headlights, airbags, etc.
Operating Procedure
• Identify
• Immobilize
• Disable
• Additional Hazards
– High voltage electrical system
– Unanticipated vehicle movement
Establish command
Primary Size-up
360 Size-up (Identify)
Deploy Hose Line
Patient care
Hazard control
Terminate Command
Approach from the side
Place the vehicle in park
Engage the emergency brake
• Shut off the ignition
• Disconnect the 12-volt battery
– Shuts down both the 12-volt battery and DC-DC
Proximity Key
• If the key can be
located, remove it at
least 16 feet from the
Can’t shut off the ignition?
• Locate the fuse that runs the high voltage
• Just shutting down the 12-volt battery is not
enough, the ignition must be disabled as well
Vehicle Fire
Can I use water?
• DC electricity follows from the battery, along
the electrical circuit and back to the battery
• AC electricity
– Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
• Immediately shuts down power if there is a short
• Batteries will burn for a long time
Submerged Vehicles
• Manufactures
recommend removing
the vehicle from the
water just like any
other vehicle
• You will not be shocked
by an electric or hybrid
vehicle that is
Helpful Resources
AC Hotstick
One for each engine
One on each squad
Structure fires
Vehicle accidents
Lines down

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