An electric MG ZS EV – which had its battery removed – ignited a fire which also burned four other vehicles parked near it at a Sydney Airport holding yard.
A fire sparked by a lithium-ion electric-car battery – that had been removed from a MG ZS electric vehicle – has destroyed five cars in a holding yard near Sydney Airport, with investigation underway into what caused the blaze.
In a media statement, Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) said firefighters were called to the blaze at a holding yard on Airport Drive in Mascot around 8:30pm on Monday 11 September, 2023.
While the lithium-ion battery which sparked the fire was from an MG ZS EV, it had recently been removed from the electric SUV after it was suspected to have been damaged.
An MG Australia spokesperson has told Drive, “MG understands the customer’s vehicle and battery were already damaged and the battery was not in the vehicle. We understand the vehicle was being stored at an airport holding yard and also not in a driveable condition.”
Both Fire Rescue NSW and the Aviation Rescue Firefighting Service from the nearby Sydney Airport worked to extinguish the blaze, which burned hotter than a typical petrol fire due to the materials inside the lithium-ion battery.
In addition to the MG ZS EV, four petrol-powered cars were destroyed by the fire – a Toyota Corolla, Renault Koleos, Volkswagen Passat and an MG HS.
According to Fire Rescue NSW, experts from the organisation’s Fire Investigation and Research Unit attended the scene of the incident to determine the cause of the blaze.
Research officers from Fire Rescue NSW’s Safety of Alternative and Renewable Energy Technologies also attended the scene of the blaze, aiming to learn more about how to control lithium-ion battery fires with more electric cars than ever on Australian roads.
Earlier this year, Australian research firm EV FireSafe – which records electric-car battery fires across the globe – found at least 375 electric vehicle fires were reported globally between 2010 and 30 April 2023, with an additional 87 incidents being investigated or unverified.
Meantime, Fire Extinguisher Online – citing NSW Department of Fire and Emergency Services data – reported there were 2942 vehicle fires (including those powered by petrol, diesel or electricity) in New South Wales between July 2020 to June 2021.
A statement from MG Australia said: “We have become aware of an incident that took place with a damaged EV battery pack at a Sydney holding yard on Tuesday 12th of August 2023. This is unfortunate and as far as we’re aware, is an isolated incident. We are working closely with the Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) investigators to piece together circumstances surrounding the unusual incident.”