Hurricane Ian brought on billions in destruction and upended lives, but couple individuals envisioned that it would cause electric powered vehicles to burst into flames.
But which is just what occurred.
In the times pursuing Hurricane Ian, the saltwater flooding in coastal spots induced the lithium-ion batteries in electric cars to combust.
Firefighters in Naples, for instance, desired to extinguish 6 blazes in EVs that had been submerged in seawater.
Heather Mazurkiewicz, a spokesperson for the fire section, explained firefighters needed “hundreds on countless numbers” of gallons of drinking water to extinguish the EV fires — significantly a lot more than what a regular gasoline motor vehicle fireplace would involve.
Even worse, a single of the EVs reignited, destroying two properties.
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Why EVs are burning
Eric Wachsman, the Director of Maryland’s Strength Institute, informed CNBC that lithium-ion battery cells have electrodes positioned shut alongside one another and are loaded with a flammable liquid electrolyte.
When the battery cells get destroyed or defective, “this flammable liquid could get into what is referred to as a thermal runaway circumstance, exactly where it just starts off sort of boiling, and that final results in a hearth,” Wachsman said.
For this explanation, some providers, this sort of as Tesla and Ford, are switching to lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are much much less flamable.
But that isn’t going to halt the autos that now have lithium-ion battering from catching fireplace.
Florida takes motion
To guard very first responders and firefighters, Jack Danielson, executive director of the Countrywide Freeway Targeted traffic Safety Administration, directed those people “not involved in fast lifesaving missions” to recognize flooded electric powered autos with lithium-ion batteries and shift them “at the very least 50 feet” absent from other buildings, vehicles, and combustibles.
Senator Rick Scott also wrote a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, D, contacting for motion.
“This emerging threat has pressured regional hearth departments to divert sources absent from hurricane recovery to command and incorporate these hazardous fires,” Scott wrote. “Alarmingly, even right after the car fires have been extinguished, they can reignite in an instant.”
There are over 95,000 registered EVs in Florida, the second-highest number in the nation.