A UK electric vehicle (EV) owner has shared his frustration after being turned away from a hospital carpark due to fears his car “could explode”.

    Paul Freeman-Powell was taking his seven-year old son to a medical appointment at Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool when he was met with signs at the entry to one of the carparks reading “No Electric Vehicles”.

    According to a post uploaded to X – formerly known as Twitter – by Mr Freeman-Powell, a security guard told him no EVs could park in that carpark as “the battery will react with the metal carpark and it might catch fire [or] explode.”

    Mr Freeman-Powell was able to park elsewhere to make the appointment. He later sent a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to understand why he and other EV owners weren’t allowed to use the carpark in question.

    Though he has not yet received a response, a spokesperson for the Alder Hey hospital told the BBC it had “temporarily restricted the parking of electric vehicles in one of our smaller carparks while we upgrade its fire sprinkler system”.

    This decision was reportedly made after Merseyside Fire and Rescue made the recommendation to Alder Hey hospital.

    The hospital’s main carpark also houses 14 EV charging bays, and is open to battery-powered vehicles as it has been upgraded with a more suitable sprinkler system.

    Despite the hospital’s explanation, EV experts have refuted the advice allegedly provided by the fire department, with former Top Gear presenter and motoring journalist Quentin Willson – who heads advocacy group Fair Charge – saying the decision contradicts the health benefits of EVs.

    “[…] for the NHS [National Health Service]  to restrict electric cars from coming into carparks dramatically conflicts with the clean air and health benefits from zero tailpipe emissions,” he said.

    Research group Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit’s head Colin Walker also cited data from Australian research firm EV FireSafe, which says petrol and diesel vehicles are 80 times more likely to be involved in a fire than EVs.

    Despite this, EVs burn hotter and require significantly more water to extinguish their flames, hence the recommended upgrades to the hospital’s sprinkler system.

    In Australia, Monash Health banned its staff from charging their EVs at any of its 11 hospitals and medical centres in Victoria last year, though this included devices such as e-scooters which can more easily bypass Australia’s charging regulations.

    Jordan Mulach

    Born and raised in Canberra, Jordan has worked as a full-time automotive journalist since 2021, being one of the most-published automotive news writers in Australia before joining CarExpert in 2024.

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