June 19, 2024


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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 vehicles that have been flooded with saltwater can catch hearth. That is verified to be a dilemma in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which flooded areas of the point out past thirty day period. 

Now, Florida officials are looking for solutions. This 7 days, U.S. Senator Rick Scott wrote about the situation to the Department of Transportation and electrical-car or truck makers. In a letter addressed to transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg, Scott wrote:

In addition to the destruction triggered by the storm itself, the saltwater flooding in quite a few coastal parts has had further more destructive effects in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian by creating the lithium ion batteries in flooded electric powered automobiles (EVs) to spontaneously combust and capture fire. This emerging risk has compelled local hearth departments to divert resources absent from hurricane recovery to command and have these hazardous fires. Motor vehicle fires from electric vehicles have verified to be extremely risky and final for a prolonged interval, using in quite a few scenarios up to six several hours to burn off out. Alarmingly, even immediately after the auto fires have been extinguished, they can reignite in an prompt. Regrettably, some Florida properties which survived Hurricane Ian, have now been dropped to fires caused by flooded EVs. 

Scott requested Buttigieg what direction his department has provided—or requested EV makers to provide—to people, as well as what protocols it is created for the carmakers by themselves.

Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief money officer and point out fire marshal, also weighed in on the situation. Last week, he wrote to Jack Danielson, executive director Nationwide Freeway Targeted traffic Basic safety Administration, asking for “immediate guidance” and noting, “In my experience, Southwest Florida has a significant number of EVs in use, and if individuals EVs had been remaining powering, uncovered to storm surge, and sitting in garages, there is a threat of fires.”

He famous that, based mostly on his exploration, “much of the steerage on submerged autos does not handle particular threats associated with exposure of EVs to saltwater.” He additional that earlier this thirty day period, “I joined North Collier Fireplace Rescue…and observed with my possess eyes an EV continually ignite, and regularly 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 video clip of firefighters attempting extinguish a burning Tesla. He wrote in the tweet, “There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As all those batteries corrode, fires commence. That is a new obstacle that our firefighters have not faced right before. At the very least on this kind of scale.”

In a reply to Patronis, Danielson wrote:

Examination benefits distinct to saltwater submersion clearly show that salt bridges can type in just the battery pack and deliver a path for quick circuit and self-heating. This can lead to fire ignition. As with other kinds of battery degradation, the time time period for this transition from self-heating to fire ignition can differ greatly.

He added:

It may perhaps be practical for individuals who are not concerned in rapid lifesaving missions to establish flooded vehicles with lithium-ion batteries and transfer them at least 50 ft from any buildings, cars, or combustibles.

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