A Florida official sounded the alarm on this scary problem with electric vehicles

May 24, 2024

Electric vehicles are touted as the future of transportation.

But they are creating a new nightmare for communities across the country to deal with. 

And a Florida official sounded the alarm on this scary problem with electric vehicles. 

Florida official is preparing to issue new rules for dealing with electric vehicle fires

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis announced that his department is preparing to issue new rules for dealing with fires created by lithium-ion batteries that are found in electric vehicles, golf carts, and other devices.

The Department of Financial Services oversees the Division of State Fire Marshal.

“Today, we started rulemaking to establish standards for dealing with EV fires,” Patronis said. “Lithium-ion batteries are the energy sources of our time and it’s an amazing technology. Unfortunately, while there are benefits to Lithium-ion batteries, there are dangerous drawbacks too.”

Patronis is also backing a federal effort to train fire responders on how to respond to fires created after lithium-ion batteries were exposed to saltwater.

Hurricanes in Florida have flooded electric vehicles with saltwater that corroded the batteries creating fires that burn hotter than a typical fire.

And these batteries can reignite up a month after they have been flooded.

“In 2023, New York City alone experienced 268 fires caused by lithium-ion batteries leading to 150 people injured, and 18 fatalities,” Patronis said. “As a nation, we must get ahead of the hazards posed by battery-related fires that threaten the safety of Americans and our firefighters, and Florida is happy to lead the way.”

During Hurricane Ian in 2022 there were up to 20 electric vehicle fires that occurred in Florida.

Electric vehicle fires are much harder for firefighters to put out

Local fire departments have to buy specialized equipment and undergo training on how to respond to electric vehicle fires.

Putting out an electric vehicle fire can require 10,000 gallons of water to put out a battery fire compared to about a 1,000 for gasoline-powered engine.

“It is important that Floridians understand the dangers of technologies powered by lithium-ion batteries, especially if they live in coastal communities,” Patronis said. “Once these fires begin, they can spread quickly and become extremely difficult for firefighters to put out.”

Partonis said that the Division of State Fire Marshal would hold its second annual symposium on lithium-ion battery fires.

“Last year’s 2-day symposium was a huge success which brought together stakeholders, including EV company representatives, to discuss what the future looks like for lithium-ion battery-powered EVs and fire safety,” Patronis explained. “This year’s symposium will promote additional training with firefighters which will include live EV fire training demonstrations. 

“Working together with safety experts and business leaders from around the country, we can learn to fight and prevent these fires to better protect consumers from harm,” Patronis added.

The Biden administration is trying to put more electric vehicles on the road to fight climate change.

But that is creating a new nightmare for communities that are having to combat the scary fires created by their lithium-ion batteries.

DeSantis Daily will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.

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