Florida Officials: Hurricane Ian Has Turned Electric Cars into Ticking Time Bombs

Florida firefighter battles Tesla fire
North Collier Fire Rescue District/Facebook

Electric vehicles have caught on fire in Florida after becoming waterlogged during Hurricane Ian, giving firefighters “a new challenge” they “haven’t faced before,” according to one Florida official.

“There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As those batteries corrode, fires start. That’s a new challenge that our firefighters haven’t faced before. At least on this kind of scale,” Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer and state fire marshal, tweeted this week.

In his tweet, Patronis included a video of firefighters putting out a fire involving a Tesla. Meanwhile, someone can be heard saying that they had already used “1,500 gallons of water on this, and it’s still going.”

“Oh, and this will burn for days,” another individual can be heard saying in the video, before the first individual explains that the firefighters “have a good water supply,” and “they’re just going to do what they can to drown this vehicle.”

In a follow-up tweet, Patronis explained, “It takes special training and understanding of EVs [electric vehicles] to ensure these fires are put out quickly and safely.”

The tweet included three videos of firefighters extinguishing a fire on a Tesla.

“Right now they’re going to try to get in there and cool it down as best they can,” a woman can be heard explaining in the third video. “Electric vehicles will continue to burn in the water.”

North Collier Fire Rescue District in Naples, Florida, posted additional footage to Facebook, showing firefighters drenching the Tesla’s top and underbelly with water to eliminate sparks.

“This is an issue many fire departments across [southwest] Florida are experiencing right now,” North Collier Fire Rescue District said in the Facebook post. “These vehicles have been submerged in salt water; they have extensive damage and can potentially be serious fire hazards.”

Having an electric vehicle during hurricane season in Florida is not the only potential disaster EV owners face.

This week, a man who bought a brand new $115,000 Hummer electric truck showcased how he was left stranded in the middle of the road — and the vehicle had less than 250 miles on it.

Similarly, a YouTuber recently demonstrated that buyers of GMC’s new electric Hummer better clear their calendars if the truck is running low on battery charge. The video he produced demonstrated that when the $80,000+ electric vehicle (EV) is plugged in to a regular house outlet, it will take over four days to fully charge. A special 240-volt charger still takes a full day to charge the vehicle.

A third, similar situation regarding EVs, involved another YouTuber — with 1.4 million followers — conducting an experiment with his brand new 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup. The man tried to tow a 1930 Ford Model A truck with the electric vehicle, but it ended in “a complete and total disaster.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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