Hurricane Ian brought on billions in harm and upended lives, however few folks anticipated that it might trigger electrical autos to burst into flames.
However that is simply what occurred.
Within the days following Hurricane Ian, the saltwater flooding in coastal areas brought on the lithium-ion batteries in electrical autos to combust.
Firefighters in Naples, for instance, wanted to extinguish six blazes in EVs that had been submerged in seawater.
Heather Mazurkiewicz, a spokesperson for the hearth division, stated firefighters wanted “1000’s upon 1000’s” of gallons of water to extinguish the EV fires — way more than what a typical fuel automotive fireplace would require.
Even worse, one of many EVs reignited, destroying two homes.
Why EVs are burning
Eric Wachsman, the Director of Maryland’s Vitality Institute, told CNBC that lithium-ion battery cells have electrodes positioned shut collectively and are stuffed with a flammable liquid electrolyte.
When the battery cells get broken or faulty, “this flammable liquid might get into what’s known as a thermal runaway scenario, the place it simply begins type of boiling, and that ends in a fireplace,” Wachsman stated.
For that reason, some corporations, corresponding to Tesla and Ford, are switching to lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, that are a lot much less flamable.
However that does not cease the vehicles that have already got lithium-ion battering from catching fireplace.
Florida takes motion
To guard first responders and firefighters, Jack Danielson, govt director of the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration, directed these “not concerned in speedy lifesaving missions” to establish flooded electrical autos with lithium-ion batteries and transfer them “at the very least 50 toes” away from different constructions, autos, and combustibles.
Senator Rick Scott additionally wrote a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, D, calling for motion.
“This rising menace has pressured native fireplace departments to divert sources away from hurricane restoration to manage and comprise these harmful fires,” Scott wrote. “Alarmingly, even after the automotive fires have been extinguished, they’ll reignite immediately.”
There are over 95,000 registered EVs in Florida, the second-highest quantity within the nation.