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 seems counterintuitive, but electric powered motor vehicles that have been flooded with saltwater can catch hearth. That is tested to be a challenge in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which flooded components of the condition final thirty day period. 

Now, Florida officers are searching for responses. This 7 days, U.S. Senator Rick Scott wrote about the difficulty to the Section of Transportation and electric powered-motor vehicle makers. In a letter addressed to transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, Scott wrote:

In addition to the hurt induced by the storm alone, the saltwater flooding in quite a few coastal spots has experienced further more damaging outcomes in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian by causing the lithium ion batteries in flooded electric powered autos (EVs) to spontaneously combust and catch fire. This rising risk has pressured neighborhood fireplace departments to divert sources absent from hurricane recovery to handle and incorporate these harmful fires. Car fires from electric autos have established to be incredibly dangerous and last for a prolonged period of time, using in numerous circumstances up to 6 hours to burn up out. Alarmingly, even after the automobile fires have been extinguished, they can reignite in an prompt. Unfortunately, some Florida properties which survived Hurricane Ian, have now been lost to fires brought on by flooded EVs. 

Scott asked Buttigieg what steerage his office has provided—or asked EV makers to provide—to customers, as perfectly as what protocols it is produced for the carmakers them selves.

Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s main financial officer and point out fireplace marshal, also weighed in on the challenge. Last 7 days, he wrote to Jack Danielson, government director Countrywide Highway Targeted traffic Safety Administration, asking for “immediate guidance” and noting, “In my encounter, Southwest Florida has a substantial quantity of EVs in use, and if those EVs were remaining at the rear of, exposed to storm surge, and sitting in garages, there is a chance of fires.”

He famous that, based mostly on his analysis, “much of the steering on submerged automobiles does not handle precise hazards affiliated with publicity of EVs to saltwater.” He additional that earlier this thirty day period, “I joined North Collier Fire Rescue…and observed with my very own eyes an EV constantly ignite, and frequently reignite, as fireteams doused the auto with tens-of-hundreds of gallons of drinking water.”

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

On Twitter, Patronis shared a movie of firefighters hoping extinguish a burning Tesla. He wrote in the tweet, “There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As those people batteries corrode, fires begin. That is a new challenge that our firefighters haven’t faced right before. At minimum on this variety of scale.”

In a reply to Patronis, Danielson wrote:

Check final results unique to saltwater submersion show that salt bridges can variety within just the battery pack and offer a route for shorter circuit and self-heating. This can lead to fire ignition. As with other types of battery degradation, the time period of time for this changeover from self-heating to hearth ignition can vary considerably.

He included:

It might be valuable for persons who are not associated in instant lifesaving missions to determine flooded vehicles with lithium-ion batteries and shift them at least 50 feet from any structures, motor vehicles, or combustibles.

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