One expert says that electric cars left unattended during Hurricane Ian can cause dangerous fires.
The corroded batteries in electric cars can cause shorts and spark a fire. Many cars, both gas-powered and electric, were destroyed by Hurricane Ian last week. EVs that are left in water for long periods of time can become corrosive and then spontaneously combust.
Jimmy Patronis, the state fire marshal, tweeted a warning Thursday to EV owners as well as unsuspecting bystanders.
“There are a lot of EVs that Ian has disabled. Fires can start as the batteries corrode. This is a new challenge for firefighters. At least, on this scale. #HurricaneIan.”
Patronis also featured a video showing several firefighters using hundreds, if not thousands, of gallons to extinguish the fire that had started in one EV.
There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. 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. #HurricaneIan pic.twitter.com/WsErgA6evO
— Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) October 6, 2022
The scene is accompanied by an unidentified woman who may be the filming crew. However, some of her statements are difficult to understand. She claims that 1,500 gallons of water were used for this particular vehicle and that the fire is still burning. If she is correct, fires started by corroded batteries in EVs could drain precious water resources. Her estimate has not been confirmed by any other sources.
Although EV fires from corroded batteries are not widespread at the moment, they do pose a threat. WUSF, a local public media outlet, reported in February that Florida has the second-highest number of EVs. It had 58,000 EVs as of June 2021.
Biden’s administration has also encouraged EVs by offering a $7500 tax credit for those Americans who switch to EVs from traditional internal combustion engines. A new California regulation will prohibit the sale of new gasoline-powered vehicles within the state by 2035. California is not the only state that has adopted similar standards. Seventeen other states have passed similar standards.
It is not clear if the smaller-sized batteries in gas-powered vehicles pose a risk for corrosion or fire.