Florida Officials Warn Of Post-Idalia EV Fire Risk

From mining for rare minerals needed for batteries to burning coal to provide the electricity essential for charging them, it has long been clear that electric vehicles do not represent the social panacea that leftist proponents often claim.

The recent landfall of Hurricane Idalia highlighted another safety and environmental hazard associated with owning an EV.

Upon coming in contact with salt water, the batteries can become corrupted and spontaneously combust. In at least two cases connected to last week’s storm in Florida, at least two EVs exploded in fires that, as with the combustion of any such battery, were difficult to extinguish.

Palm Harbor Fire Rescue issued an advisory for owners of these vehicles in areas that were subjected to flooding.

“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 agency warned. “Saltwater exposure can trigger combustion in lithium-ion batteries.”

Of course, this was not the first time such a trend was observed in the state. Following Hurricane Ian last year, at least a dozen electric vehicles caught fire after being flooded with ocean water. Two were located inside garages, and in both cases, the attached homes were destroyed by the fire.

At that time, Florida Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis issued a statement on the matter, explaining: “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.”

The U.S. Fire Administration noted that the risk associated with EV batteries corrupted by salt water can last several days or longer and advised owners to move vehicles that might have been flooded at least 50 feet from any combustible items including homes or other vehicles.

“The salt water that is flooding can get into the battery and dry there, and once it dries, it creates what federal safety officials call bridges between cells, and that can lead to fires, and that those fires can come anywhere from days to weeks later,” said Patrick Olsen, a spokesperson for the vehicle data firm Carfax. “And once an EV catches on fire, it is incredibly difficult to put it out.”