Electric vehicles catch fire after being exposed to saltwater from Hurricane Idalia
"Saltwater exposure can trigger combustion in lithium-ion batteries. If possible, transfer your vehicle to higher ground," the Palm Beach fire department wrote in a Facebook post.
Two electric vehicles in Palm Beach, Florida caught fire after being exposed to saltwater from Hurricane Idalia, according to reports.
Officials from the fire department said that both cars were Teslas and stated that the rechargeable car batteries might combust if exposed to saltwater.
"If you own a hybrid or electric vehicle that has come into contact with saltwater due to recent flooding within the last 24 hours, it is crucial to relocate the vehicle from your garage without delay," the department wrote in a Facebook post. "Saltwater exposure can trigger combustion in lithium-ion batteries. If possible, transfer your vehicle to higher ground."
The warning also extended to other vehicles with lithium-ion batteries such as electric golf carts, scooters and bicycles.
According to a report from the CBS News Innovation Lab, lithium-ion batteries have cell groups that contain a flammable liquid electrolyte, which puts those vehicles more at risk.
Palm Harbor Fire Rescue training chief Jason Haynes told CBS that combustion can occur well after a car has been exposed to saltwater and noted that it's important to move potentially damaged vehicles away from structures and garages for safety.