IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: WEATHER CHANNEL: Electric Vehicles Catching Fire After Ian
October 25, 2022
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WEATHER CHANNEL: … We got Jimmy Patronis the Chief Financial Officer & the State Fire Marshal for Florida, joining us live to kind of chat about what EVs are doing, spontaneously combusting and now catching fire. How is, I guess more importantly, why is this happening?
CFO PATRONIS: So, a unique storm event, nothing like this has ever been done. Seven thousand EVs in the three county areas that were experiencing the flooding. So, enormous amount of flood, an emerging technology, and I guarantee you none of these manufacturers have ever sat down and said, “Let's take one of our EVs and submerge it in salt water for six hours and see what happens.” This is exactly what we're seeing right now. It's like a real time experiment and as we're seeing now, we've got eight documented EVs that have caught fire directly due to storm surge and saltwater intrusion and unfortunately there's over 160 that have had insurance claims that ultimately might end up in somebody's hands. These things can be ticking time bombs.
WEATHER CHANNEL: So, what exactly is happening? Is it getting like corroded by the saltwater and then it sparks the fire?
CFO PATRONIS: So, we reached out to NHTSA, NHTSA is the federal governing body over this particular form of regulation. By their own attestation by our own questions, you know we brought up our concerns regarding saltwater intrusion. Saltwater is an incredible conductor, you think of all the minerals that are in salt water and as you've got all those minerals in place, they will then dry in certain ways where we it will short the battery, and then once that battery hits a certain temperature, it self-ignites and then there's nothing you can do but let it burn and if it happens to be in your house, it could burn down with you in it.
WEATHER CHANNEL: You mentioned that these are ticking time bombs and how there's been insurance claims on some of these vehicles. What did you mean by that, does that mean some of these are going to be sold on aftermarket scale?
CFO PATRONIS: Exactly, so there's thousands of cars that were affected by hurricane Ian and there's various forms of sale law. If it may be a salvage then it's only good for parts, it might get a rebuilt title where then you know what, once the owner of the car gets their check and the insurance company then whoever has it, it's kind of like ‘buyers beware’ and if you don't know what you bought you could have bought something that ultimately down the road could ultimately cause catastrophic damage to your own personal residence. So, we have had reports of where there's been some EV’s that made it as far as Minneapolis, from this market from the storm that have already caught fire. So again, it's not if it's when based on what we have seen firsthand from Hurricane Ian.
WEATHER CHANNEL: … Let's talk about why it's so hard to put these fires out. Is there anything you said they just burned to the ground, there's nothing you could do to stop these fires?
CFO PATRONIS: Yeah, so look there are definitely a higher percentage of gas-powered engines on the road than EV’s I think we all know that. And there's more gas fires than EVs you can imagine that also, but here's the problem an EV with that lithium-ion battery there's nothing you can do. A gas car which it gets fires about 1,500 gallons of water, an EV it could be anywhere from ten to 20,000 gallons of water because all you can try to do is just keep the fire contained
WEATHER CHANNEL: I can imagine too just you know the smoke and everything getting burned in that vehicle, chemicals going up into the air, it's not good, you know. How do you instruct your crew to be safe, you just stand at a distance and try to douse it out?
CFO PATRONIS: Yeah, so I mean we use lots and lots of water, but this isn't this isn't a solution, okay, we have definitely got a technology, which is a fantastic technology, but we've got to have better methods than getting a hyperlink sent to me by a manufacturer or being told to go look the owner's manual.
WEATHER CHANNEL: Yeah, they're gonna have to do something maybe now this has happened. Let's go back, Jimmy Patronis thank you so much. He is the State Fire Marshal and Chief Financial Officer for Florida. Really good information there too. Yeah, and I mean we’ve never seen this happen before. This is just on a mass scale, I think.