Floridians battered by Hurricane Idalia this week may not have expected another threat — that floodwaters could cause their cars to suddenly burst into flames.
Yet that’s exactly what happened when two electric vehicles caught fire after being submerged in saltwater churned up by the storm. Firefighters in Palm Harbor, Florida, cited the incidents, both of which involved Teslas, in warning owners that their rechargeable car batteries could combust if exposed to saltwater.
“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 department said in a Facebook post. “Saltwater exposure can trigger combustion in lithium-ion batteries. If possible, transfer your vehicle to higher ground.”
The warning also applies to electric golf carts, scooters and bicycles, with lithium-ion batteries potentially sparking a fire when they get wet. More specifically, salt residue remains after the water dries out and can create “bridges” between the battery’s cells, potentially creating electrical connections that can spark a fire.
h/t 16 Blocks