CBS News reports:
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…
“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 fire 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.
Fire crews were actually towing one of the vehicles when it burst into flames, the article points out. And EV manufacturers want people to take the possibility seriously:
Tesla warns car owners about the risks of vehicle submersion and advises against driving a car that has been flooded. “Treat your vehicle as if it has been in an accident and contact your insurance company,” the company says in its guidance for handling a submerged vehicle.
Thanks to long-time Slashdot reader schwit1 for sharing the article.