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Electric car fire destroys homes after Hurricane Ian saltwater damage.Florida officials want answers

It sounds counterintuitive, but an EV flooded with salt water can catch fire. Hurricane Ian inundated parts of the state last month, which proved to be a problem in Florida.

Now, Florida officials are seeking answers. This week, U.S. Senator Rick Scott wrote to the Department of Transportation and EV makers on the issue. In a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Scott wrote: In addition to the damage caused by the storm itself, sea flooding in several coastal areas following Hurricane Ian There were further devastating consequences, causing lithium-ion batteries in flooded electric vehicles (EVs) to spontaneously ignite and catch fire. This emerging threat is forcing local fire departments to divert resources from hurricane recovery to contain and contain these dangerous fires. Car fires caused by EVs have proven to be very dangerous and can last for a long time, taking up to 6 hours in many cases to extinguish. Shockingly, even after car fires are extinguished, they can reignite in an instant. Sadly, some Florida homes that survived Hurricane Ian have now been destroyed by fires caused by flooded electric vehicles. Scott asked Buttigieg what guidance his department offers to consumers — or asks EV makers to provide — and the protocols it has developed for automakers themselves. Florida CFO and state fire chief Jimmy Patronis also weighed in on the issue. Last week, he wrote to NHTSA executive director Jack Danielson asking for “immediate guidance” and noting, “In my experience, Southwest Florida has a large number of electric vehicles in use, and if these electric vehicles Left behind, exposed to storm surge, sitting in a garage, there is a risk of a fire.” He noted that, based on his research, “Most of the guidelines for underwater vehicles do not address the connection between electric vehicles and electric vehicles. There are specific risks associated with car exposure to salt water.” He added that earlier this month, “I joined the North Collier Fire and Rescue…I saw an electric car that kept catching fire and then kept relighting. , because the fire brigade poured tens of thousands of gallons of water on the car.” He also warned, “The electric car could be a ticking time bomb.” On Twitter, Patronis shared a video of a firefighter Video of trying to put out a burning Tesla. He tweeted: “Ian disabled tons of EVs. As these batteries corroded, fires started. This is a new challenge our firefighters have never faced. At least on this scale.”

In reply to Patronis, Danielson wrote: Test results specific to saltwater immersion indicate that salt bridges will Forms within the battery pack and provides a path for short circuits and self-heating. This could lead to fire. As with other forms of battery degradation, the transition time from self-heating to fire can vary widely. He added: For those not immediately involved in lifesaving missions, identify flooded vehicles with lithium-ion batteries and move them It may be helpful to be at least 50 feet away from any structures, vehicles, or combustibles.

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