In the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Florida electric vehicle (EV) owners are faced with a unique problem: their cars are catching fire. Video of Florida's North Collier Fire Rescue extinguishing a stationary but fiery EV emerged on Thursday showing the risk of these battery powered machines.
Florida's Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis and wrote, “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.”
Bob Rommel tweeted, “If you own any EV that was flooded in salt water get it towed away from any structure. Extreme fire risk and difficult to extinguish. @elonmusk ,@ByronDonalds @JimmyPatronis .God Bless @NCFRPio”
The fire department, located in Naples, Florida, thanked Bob and his “willingness to be on scene so you could see first hand how difficult these fires are to extinguish.”
As the site Sciencing explains, fresh water is not very conducive but salt water conducts electricity very well. Salt is soluble in water and divides into sodium ions, which are positively charged, and chloride ions, which are negatively charged. All sources of electricity, like batteries, have two terminals, a positive and a negative. Batteries saturated in salt water, even if somewhat dry, have this conducive material spreading the current, which sparks, and then catches adjacent material on fire.
Patronis and Christina Pushaw, rapid response director for Ron DeSantis' re-election campaugn, thanked the fire department for their efforts.
The Today show has noted another problem EV owners face in the aftermath of Ian is an inability to charge if local power is down.