Ian flooding, storm surges expose vulnerability of batteries in electric vehicles sparking fire

Incidents of electric vehicles catching on fire after hurricanes are becoming common according to reports

Updated: October 17, 2022 - 2:19pm

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The storm surges and flooding from Hurricane Ian in Florida are reportedly again exposing the vulnerability of electric vehicle catching fire after being submerged in saltwater.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently wrote in a letter to Jimmy Patronis, the chief financial officer of Florida Department of Financial Services, that such incidents are not uncommon, according to the Epoch Times.

"We are tracking Florida EV fires through news reports, fire department social media sites, and other sources, and we can confirm your experience in North Collier with re-ignition is not an isolated event," reads the letter, referring to a part Naples, Florida, which was hit hard by the Category 4 hurricane.

According to the letter, the fires have mostly had to do with the car's battery and have ignited a fire as a result of the water from the hurricane. 

"Test results specific to saltwater submersion show that salt bridges can form within the battery pack and provide a path for short circuit and self-heating," the letter stated. "This can lead to fire ignition."

Patronis reports multiple electric vehicles (EVs)  have caught fire as a result of this hurricane. 

“There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian," he said, according to the Epoh Times. "As those batteries corrode, fires start. That’s a new challenge that our firefighters haven’t faced before. At least on this kind of scale.”