EVs Exposed To Salt Water Flooding From Hurricane Idalia Are Catching Fire

[Screenshot/YouTube/User: @jamesmclynasforpinellascou2158]

Alexander Pease Contributor
Font Size:

Flooding from Hurricane Idalia caused Teslas in Florida to burst into flames following exposure to salt water.

At least two Tesla owners experienced their EV go ablaze after being completely submerged in salt water after wicked weather and extreme tides from Hurricane Idalia rocked the Sunshine State at the end of August, according to Fox 13 News.

Both incidents occurred in Pinellas County, Florida, the outlet reported.

A YouTube post by James McLynas shows what was left of one of the torched Teslas that caught fire in Pinellas Park Thursday before it got towed away. (RELATED: ‘Collecting Dust:’ Car Dealerships Reporting Prolonged Shelf-Life For EVs)


McLynas wrote in the post description that the driver was towing the flooded Tesla from a storm-ravaged home when the car had begun flaming. In order to protect the tow truck from the hellfire, the driver unloaded the car at an intersection near Park Boulevard and 65th Way. (RELATED: Elon Musk’s Tesla Signs ‘Socialist Values’ Pact With Chinese Counterparts)

Here, local firefighters labored to put out the fire, “but it kept reigniting,” according to the post. “After several attempts to put it out, they just let it burn out. This was all that was left.”

Fox 13 reported that the other incident happened one day earlier.

The reported incidents prompted the Palm Harbor Fire Department to take to Facebook in order to issue a warning to hybrid as well as EV owners impacted the hurricane:

The reason why EVs can catch fire following salt water exposure has to do with the possibility of dried-up salt residue seeping into the lithium-ion battery cells that can create an electrical connection capable of combustion, CBS News MoneyWatch explained. Furthermore, “Lithium-ion battery packs consist of a group of cells inside a compartment and contain a flammable liquid electrolyte,” according to the outlet.

Carfax spokesperson Patrick Olsen told MoneyWatch that a damp lithium-ion battery can spontaneously burst into flames anywhere from days to weeks after the salt water initial exposure.

Tesla told its customers that if their vehicle is exposed to a salt water flooding, they should contact their insurance agency the same way they would if they got into an accident.