A fire department in Florida has issued a warning to owners of electric vehicles that their vehicle’s batteries are at risk of catching fire if exposed to saltwater.
The fire department in Florida is urging owners of electric vehicles to move their vehicles out of their garages or storage units if they have come into contact with any salt water to avoid the risk of fire spreading to the buildings in the case of an ignition.
They are also warning owners not to drive their electric vehicles through water, as this can also damage the batteries and increase the risk of fire.
The fire department says that fires can occur days, or even weeks after exposure with saltwater, so it is important to get a vehicle that has come in contact with seawater checked by a qualified professional.
The warning applies to owners of all electric-powered vehicles, including golf carts and scooters.
The warning was issued following a fire that broke out at a Tesla outlet in the nearby city of Dunedin earlier that day.
Florida Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis has previously expressed stern concerns about the issue, and has sent a letter to the NHTSA requesting answers about the increased risks posed to the safety of local firefighters due to lithium batteries that ignited after saltwater exposure.
The NHTSA has reportedly been studying the effects of saltwater exposure on electric vehicles since Superstorm Sandy hit the state in October 2012.
As EV’s have become more popular in the last few years, it has increased the importance of understanding and mitigating the risks by adhering to whatever safety guidelines are currently available, but more research is needed to gain a better understanding of the safety surrounding battery-powered vehicles.