Finding and adopting more environmentally friendly modes of transportation is a hot topic that has been gaining ground for years. One thing is clear, the green turn is being forced on everyone and it is the task of every transport company to find the best ways to make it happen. It is no news that vehicles with an internal combustion engine are considered important generators of greenhouse gases.

One of the options for providing a greener transport service is the introduction of fully electric vehicles, which the courier company DPD Eesti was the first logistics company in Estonia to start with. However, electric vehicles are also accompanied by a danger that has manifested itself several times in Estonia as well – spontaneous combustion due to overheating of the batteries.

This is where Navirec came to DPD’s aid, as GPS devices installed on vehicles enable real-time monitoring of the battery temperature and prevent economic damage resulting from the destruction of electric cars and the goods transported by them.


25 electric vans were added to DPD Estonia’s vehicle fleet

In an interview last October, the CEO of DPD Estonia, Remo Kirss, said that from a tactical point of view, switching to electric vans was an irrational decision, but strategically, it was inevitable. This is because of the European Parliament’s decision to ban the sale of cars with internal combustion engines by 2035, which has already caused a lot of furor. If changes are not made in companies’ fleets now, the transition to electric cars will be even more difficult and expensive.

Today, DPD Estonia has a total of almost 50 electric vans in its vehicle fleet, which significantly contributes to the company’s goal of becoming an international example of sustainable delivery. By 2030, DPD Estonia wants to have a fleet of vehicles, 95% of which are fully electric cars. Estonia’s largest charging park for electric cars will also be created at the Jüri sorting center to support the goal.

DPD Estonia’s new electric vans (Source: private collection)

Unfortunately, certain dangers must be taken into account when joining the green revolution. The first cases of spontaneous combustion of electric vehicle batteries have also occurred in Estonia, and here DPD should be praised for its foresight. Navirec GPS devices are installed on the new electric vans, which allow monitoring of the battery temperature in real-time and act quickly if to prevent accidents. But let’s take a closer look at battery ignition problems and statistics. Is monitoring the battery temperature really that important to prevent accidents?


Spontaneous ignitions of electric vehicles are causing concern worldwide

This year is the first for Estonian rescuers when they have had to respond to challenges related to the ignition of a vehicle with an all-electric engine. If, as of the beginning of August, the total number of vehicle fires in Estonia was 176, 2 of them were related to electric cars. The ratio does not seem high, but if you think about how few electric cars are moving in Estonia today compared to vehicles with internal combustion engines, two fires in about half a year is quite a scary number.

The total number of registered vehicles and the number of registered all-electric vehicles in Estonia as of September 1, 2023 (Source: Republic of Estonia Transportation Administration)

An increase in the number of fires related to electric vehicles (including electric scooters and bicycles) has also been noticed in other parts of the world. Above all, of course, at the expense of the fact that more and more electric vehicles will be on the roads. Attention has been paid to this especially in the United States where the introduction of electric cars in big cities has become more and more popular. Fires in electric cars are currently considered rather an exception, and studies have shown that their risk of ignition is even lower compared to cars with an internal combustion engine. However, the problem is not the number of electric car fires, but the complexity of extinguishing them and the amount of damage caused.

The batteries used in electric cars (including lithium batteries) consist of thousands of cells, a defect in even one of which can cause dangerous overheating of that part of the battery. However, this, in turn, causes a chain reaction called “Thermal Runaway”. In simple terms, this means that the heat generated by a defective and overheating battery part is transferred uncontrollably to other battery parts, ultimately causing the toxic gas in the batteries to expand and eventually explode.

The whole process happens very quickly, and because of this, the batteries of electric cars burn at temperatures twice as high as normal fires, and it is much more difficult to put them out. Because of this, the material damage accompanying them is often greater, especially if the car that catches fire should be parked in the fleet near other cars.


Navirec’s GPS device enables real-time monitoring of the battery temperature of electric vehicles

DPD decided to join hands with Estonia’s leading company providing GPS services to mitigate the risks, as Navirec GPS devices, in addition to offering the usual GPS device functionalities, also allow you to keep an eye on the temperature of electric car batteries in real-time. A very reasonable decision, if you consider the amount of investment made in new electric vans, possible property damage in case of destruction of transported goods in a fire, not to mention human casualties.

DPD Estonia’s new electric van and Navirec (Source: private collection)

Navirec GPS devices are perfect for electric vehicles, as the vehicle’s battery temperature can be monitored in real-time on a map near the vehicle. It is also possible to monitor temperature changes periodically in reports, which can provide preliminary information about vehicle battery problems. Battery temperature changes can be set within a range in Navirec, beyond which the solution notifies the specified person(s) (e.g. driver using the vehicle, logistician, fleet manager, etc.) of a problem with automatic notification. In this way, it is possible to react immediately and start solving the problem before it is too late.

Therefore, we also remind other owners of electric vehicles (including electric scooters) that a small investment in a GPS device and a tracking solution will help prevent possible major damage.

The Navirec GPS device is like small insurance for your electric vehicle, thanks to which you can enjoy the drive with a calm heart!

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