Electric-vehicle fires have burned down homes after Hurricane Ian saltwater damage. Florida officials want answers

Electric-vehicle fires have burned down homes after Hurricane Ian saltwater damage. Florida officials want answers

It appears counterintuitive, but electrical cars that have been flooded with saltwater can catch hearth. That is proven to be a dilemma in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which flooded pieces of the point out very last month. 

Now, Florida officials are searching for answers. This week, U.S. Senator Rick Scott wrote about the problem to the Section of Transportation and electric-car or truck makers. In a letter tackled to transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, Scott wrote:

In addition to the hurt brought about by the storm itself, the saltwater flooding in many coastal locations has experienced additional destructive consequences in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian by resulting in the lithium ion batteries in flooded electric powered motor vehicles (EVs) to spontaneously combust and catch fireplace. This emerging danger has forced regional hearth departments to divert assets away from hurricane recovery to command and consist of these hazardous fires. Auto fires from electrical motor vehicles have tested to be incredibly dangerous and previous for a extended period, taking in many circumstances up to six hrs to burn out. Alarmingly, even immediately after the automobile fires have been extinguished, they can reignite in an instant. Sadly, some Florida houses which survived Hurricane Ian, have now been shed to fires brought about by flooded EVs. 

Scott requested Buttigieg what advice his department has provided—or questioned EV makers to provide—to buyers, as perfectly as what protocols it is designed for the carmakers on their own.

Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s main financial officer and condition fire marshal, also weighed in on the concern. Last week, he wrote to Jack Danielson, executive director Countrywide Freeway Visitors Security Administration, asking for “immediate guidance” and noting, “In my experience, Southwest Florida has a substantial amount of EVs in use, and if individuals EVs were left powering, uncovered to storm surge, and sitting down in garages, there is a possibility of fires.”

He famous that, based on his investigation, “much of the steerage on submerged vehicles does not address particular pitfalls related with exposure of EVs to saltwater.” He added that previously this month, “I joined North Collier Hearth Rescue…and noticed with my individual eyes an EV constantly ignite, and continuously reignite, as fireteams doused the auto with tens-of-hundreds of gallons of water.”

He also warned that “EVs might be a ticking time bomb.”

On Twitter, Patronis shared a online video of firefighters striving extinguish a burning Tesla. He wrote in the tweet, “There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As these batteries corrode, fires commence. That is a new obstacle that our firefighters have not confronted ahead of. At the very least on this kind of scale.”

In a reply to Patronis, Danielson wrote:

Take a look at benefits precise to saltwater submersion display that salt bridges can variety within just the battery pack and present a route for limited circuit and self-heating. This can lead to hearth ignition. As with other sorts of battery degradation, the time period of time for this changeover from self-heating to fire ignition can change greatly.

He extra:

It might be useful for folks who are not involved in immediate lifesaving missions to recognize flooded vehicles with lithium-ion batteries and go them at least 50 ft from any buildings, cars, or combustibles.

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