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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Spectrum News 13: Pair of Florida Republicans seeks information on EV fires following Hurricane Ian

10/24/2022

Pair of Florida Republicans seeks information on EV fires following Hurricane Ian

Corina Cappabianca

Spectrum News 13
October 21, 2022

Read full article and watch video HERE.

 

WASHINGTON — A pair of Florida Republicans at the federal and state level are asking questions following reports of electric vehicle fires potentially linked to water submersion from Hurricane Ian's storm surge.

Fire officials in Ian's hardest hit areas have been urging electric vehicle owners to be careful if their car was submerged in saltwater storm surge.

Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshall Jimmy Patronis​, as well as U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, have said they are asking manufacturers and Biden administration officials for more information on why the fires are happening and how the risks are being mitigated.

Patronis says the state is "still assessing the fire risks of EVs from Ian."

He said "based on registrations, there were 4,100+ EVs in the area inundated by surge," but that does not mean all were impacted.

Patronis sent letters to manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking a series of questions regarding research conducted on EV batteries and guidance for owners and fire crews.

The NHTSA responded​ that "lithium-ion vehicle battery fires have been observed both rapidly igniting and igniting several weeks after battery damage occurred" and that "test results specific to saltwater submersion show that salt bridges can form within the battery pack and provide a path for short circuit and self-heating. This can lead to fire ignition."

Officials with the Florida CFO's office said there have been reports of eight Tesla EV fires following Hurricane Ian.

 

Scott said he has sent similar letters to manufacturers and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

 

The letters from the two Republicans come as the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress have been touting their efforts to expand EV use, including offering tax credits to purchase the vehicles and giving states money to build charging stations. Scott did not support that legislation.

 

Fire officials with the Cape Coral Fire Department say anyone whose electric vehicle, golf cart or e-bike was "submerged in saltwater storm surge" should remove it from the garage and call the manufacturer.