In context: Electric vehicles offer plenty of benefits to discerning drivers, including rapid acceleration, quieter operation, and the ability to power your car from the comfort of your home. Unfortunately, they have their fair share of problems. During particularly brutal crashes, an EV's internal wiring may become damaged or disfigured enough that it sends current to the metal frame of the vehicle, potentially delivering -- at the very least -- a nasty shock to passengers or nearby first responders.
At least, that could happen, if companies like Bosch weren't already working to solve the problem. In a press release published today (aptly titled "Explosions that save lives"), Bosch describes how it uses "small explosive charges" attached to EV batteries to circumvent the dangers damaged wiring can present.
Bosch's explosives are just punchy enough to effectively detach and isolate a given EV's power supply from the rest of the car's frame, and any other conductive materials. Bosch uses small semiconductors to set off these explosives in a "fraction of a second," mitigating the danger of accidental electric shocks. "This enables rescue crews to set to work immediately and ensures that first responders and the vehicle’s occupants remain safe," Bosch writes.
Bosch's semiconductors are part of a "pyrotechnical safety switch system" (or "pyrofuse"), and they trigger the explosions the moment a collision is detected (while also deploying airbags). It's unclear whether Bosch's pyrofuse tech is already being used in modern EVs, but we've reached out to the company for confirmation.
At any rate, you might think it sounds a bit unwise to be setting off explosives in your car intentionally -- near a battery, no less -- but Bosch's charges are quite small, both in size and expected impact.
In theory, the charges only "drive a wedge" into high-voltage cables (thus disconnecting them from the main power source); they shouldn't be capable of damaging or detonating the battery itself. According to Bosch, the mini-explosions should also eliminate the risk of a fire breaking out.