No injuries or significant property damage has been reported, just like the first two times
A battery entered a stage of thermal runaway during a series of tests
The firefighters had to call for backup but were able to contain the flames
In the morning of the 28th of May, firefighters were called to the Rivian factory in Normal Illinois for the third time in only 7 months.
In the first instance, a battery cell was damaged in the automated battery pack assembly section back in October of 2021, only about one month after the automaker began production.
Then, a complete vehicle caught fire on the assembly line in February of this year and according to the firefighters, the damages were contained by the building’s sprinkler system.
This time, the incident apparently took place in a test booth in which a battery pack was tested by factory employees.
The battery in question entered a state of thermal runaway and the southern part of the building was evacuated while the firefighters made their way to the scene.
As was the case in both other Rivian factory fires, no injuries or property damage has been reported. This was probably due to the fact that this incident happened in a booth designed to contain flames and fumes.
Despite the fire being contained, Normal’s firefighters had to call for backup from a neighboring city because they were having trouble putting out the flames.
This is because lithium-ion batteries, the type most commonly used in electric vehicles, are prone to thermal runaways, like happened here.
When a runaway occurs, the battery heats up to a point where the other, undamaged cells, ignite on their own, thus causing a chain reaction that makes it difficult to extinguish the fire completely
The firefighters continued to douse the battery with water in order to lower its temperature and prevent it from reigniting again.
Rivian will investigate to determine the cause of this latest fire and make some changes to its batteries or testing procedures if a risk is found.