Several Teslas Catch Fire During Hurricane Idalia Because of Saltwater

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By Crystal Harlan

August 31, 2023

Florida authorities are warning hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) owners to keep their vehicles out of floodwaters after several Teslas caught fire during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia.

One Tesla was parked in Pinellas Park in an area flooded by saltwater. The owner didn’t try to start the flood-impacted car, but called a tow truck to have it taken away. However, the Tesla caught fire while on the back of the tow truck, according to WTSP.

A video from IONTB showed firefighters cooling down the batteries of the Tesla, as temperatures still exceeded 200 degrees 1.5 hours after the initial fire.

In Holmes Beach, a fire was caused when a Tesla in a garage caught fire and was put out by homeowners, Wednesday morning, according to Fox News 13.

Another Tesla caught fire on Wednesday in Dunedin. Palm Harbor Fire Rescue Deputy Chief Brent Breuer said saltwater from the flooding caused the vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries to ignite.

“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,” Breuer told Patch Dunedin. “Saltwater exposure can trigger combustion in lithium-ion batteries.”

He added that, if possible, EV owners should transfer their vehicles, as well as electric golf carts and scooters, to higher ground, and should not ride them through water.



  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.



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