Hydrogen bubbles forming on the negative terminal of a battery in a glass of salt water. The process is horrendously inefficient, most of the energy in the battery is wasted. Do not try this at home - if you do this for more than a few seconds, things can get very messy, as the battery package can rapidly corrode and rupture, and spill chemical nasties. The salt contaminated battery is also a fire hazard.

Electric vehicles catch fire after being exposed to saltwater from Hurricane Idalia

Essay by Eric Worrall

h/t James Stagg; The Idalia vehicles were apparently flooded with salt water. My question – could salt spray from a windy day at the beach also trigger a deadly battery fire?

Electric vehicles catch fire after being exposed to saltwater from Hurricane Idalia

“Saltwater exposure can trigger combustion in lithium-ion batteries. If possible, transfer your vehicle to higher ground,” the Palm Beach fire department wrote in a Facebook post. 

Two electric vehicles in Palm Beach, Florida caught fire after being exposed to saltwater from Hurricane Idalia, according to reports.

Officials from the fire department said that both cars were Teslas and stated that the rechargeable car batteries might combust if exposed to saltwater. 

“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 department wrote in a Facebook post. “Saltwater exposure can trigger combustion in lithium-ion batteries. If possible, transfer your vehicle to higher ground.” 

The warning also extended to other vehicles with lithium-ion batteries such as electric golf carts, scooters and bicycles.

Read more: https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/transportation/electric-vehicles-catch-fire-after-being-exposed-saltwater-hurricane

Obviously the lesson in the case of hurricanes, if you live somewhere which might be flooded, is move the electric vehicles outdoors, away from anything you care about. Of course, putting your vehicle in harms way might affect your insurance claim, so please get professional advice before acting on this suggestion.

What about lesser exposure to salt spray? For example, occasionally in Australia windy weather kicks up salt foam, which covers the foreshore, without the need for an actual hurricane or cyclone.

Even when you don’t have something as obvious as salt foam, anything parked near the sea on a windy day gets exposed to a continuous, penetrating, near invisible spray of salt. On windy days, after parking by the sea, you usually have to use the windscreen washer to clean off the layer of salt before driving the vehicle.

I don’t know if that penetrating salt spray can wreak the same damage as floodwater. Maybe it just takes longer. But this is certainly a question I would be asking myself, if I owned an electric vehicle.

Even away from the ocean there are weather phenomena which could cause an accumulation of salt on vital engine components. A lot of desert environments, the dust contains significant amounts of salt. That dust gets in everywhere.

Salt buildup could be an explanation for some of the spontaneous combustion electric vehicle disasters we’ve seen over the years. The salt could slowly accumulate in layers on critical electrical components of the vehicle, until one day, when atmospheric conditions are just right, moisture causes the salt layer coating the vehicle components to become electrically conducting, a short circuit forms, and the electric vehicle catches fire and explodes.

For more information about some of the bad things which can happen to electric vehicles, and why they are bad for the environment, click here.

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Tom Halla
September 3, 2023 10:09 am

If it were not for the CAGW movement, liability lawyers would have bankrupted the Battery Electric Car industry long ago.

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 3, 2023 11:54 am

They’re happy to keep making money from the alarmist cash cow too – insurance premiums, car & buildings, will continue increasing as more battery vehicles hit the roads
From a pure risk assessment point of view, no one in their right minds would strap people into mobile crematoriums believing it to be right – more battery vehicle fires will ensue, with resultant deaths & collateral damage to buildings and other vehicles etc, guaranteed

Ed Reid
Reply to  Energywise
September 3, 2023 3:40 pm

Hopefully, those “mobile crematoriums” will not include loaded transit and school buses.

Bryan A
Reply to  Ed Reid
September 3, 2023 5:11 pm

Remember…it’s not a flaw, it’s a feature.
Spontaneous self immolation is a favored form of population control

Reply to  Ed Reid
September 4, 2023 1:37 am

Many EV busses have caught fire.
The French had a whole bus depot, go up in flames.

Bryan A
September 3, 2023 10:18 am

Not only are shorelines susceptible to salt from storms, ocean spray or foamy brine but also northern areas from road salts to combat roadway ice

Richard Page
Reply to  Bryan A
September 3, 2023 1:12 pm

I was going to ask about that. Here in the UK spreading salt over potentially icy roads is commonplace, saltwater corrosion underneath the car is a big problem for car owners. Presumably this will be a far bigger problem for EV owners?

Reply to  Richard Page
September 3, 2023 7:58 pm

I doubt it would cause a problem at first. However once the corrosion ate through the outer shell and started getting to the battery modules, problems could escalate out of control quickly.

Reply to  MarkW
September 4, 2023 10:40 am

One of the reasons ICE cars have a much higher fire rate is because there are many old ICE cars in use – many serviced by their owners. As EVs start to age, what you mention may become more of a problem, bringing the incidence of fire closer to parity.

Reply to  Bryan A
September 4, 2023 1:42 am

Yep: at this rate the world really will be on fire.

Steve Richards
September 3, 2023 10:20 am

I wonder if the fire main on sea going vessels, specifically car carriers, causes more damage during an electric vehicle fire onboard?

Gavin Liddiard
Reply to  Steve Richards
September 3, 2023 10:43 am

Apparently car carriers don’t use water to fight fires as the large wide car decks would allow it to move around and potentially capsize the ship. They use CO2 or other gases to smother the fire. That said, with EVs nothing will put out the fire until all the fuel (battery) is oxidised. That’s why we see the crews evacuating and salvers towing the carriers to safety and hoping the ship doesn’t sink.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gavin Liddiard
September 3, 2023 3:45 pm

When I was a kid it didn’t take much time for us to learn that the fuses on a Cherry Bomb, Silver Salute or an M-80 were, we thought, “waterproof”. Maybe they did have a coating that kept out the water but, once lit, the materials in the fuse didn’t require oxygen from the atmosphere to burn. The chemicals had it’s own oxygen built in. But it didn’t have its own source of ignition built in.
A little salt water. A little crack. A little regular water. Corrosion over a short or long time. Electricity shorting creates its own ignition. lithium-ion batteries do the rest.

Ireneusz Palmowski
September 3, 2023 10:24 am

Not only salt water, but any high water immobilizes electric vehicles. Heavy precipitation in a short period of time is enough.

Reply to  Ireneusz Palmowski
September 3, 2023 11:56 am

And all emergency fire services can do, is wait & watch as it burns

Rud Istvan
September 3, 2023 10:25 am

I live directly on the beach in north Fort Lauderdale. The Three story garage roof is our pool/cafe deck. The reinforced concrete garage has 3 foot walls mounted by a railing, but otherwise open. The cars need regular washing because of salt spray. We have a hand car wash on the grounds for this.
Both of ours spent weeks each last year in a body repair shop to have rusted parts replaced, then specially primed and repainted (2 coats then clear coat), thanks to salt spray corrosion.

Even though Teslas are popular here (a dealership is just a couple of miles away), no EVs are allowed in our garage (visitors can Valet outside). Two reasons:

  1. Fire risk.
  2. Not able to upgrade electrical infrastructure to support charging.

The two Teslas that burned up were both damaged by Idalia salt water storm surge, according to local news reports. Salt water is conductive, can short the battery leads. A 400V DC short can be catastrophic.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 3, 2023 11:58 am

A 400VDC (battery) short IS always catastrophic

Reply to  Energywise
September 3, 2023 2:19 pm

I recall an EE prof describing it this way: “If you short a voltage source, Kirchhoff comes up out of his grave to inform you that you are violating one of his laws.”

Reply to  karlomonte
September 3, 2023 11:54 pm

But Kirchhoff would also have slapped you around the back of the head if you forgot to add the series resistance within the voltage source and the conductor resistance.

Those laws are fixed, only lawyers would argue against them.

Reply to  Eng_Ian
September 4, 2023 9:24 am

Lawyers like a good argument, the longer it lasts the more $$

September 3, 2023 10:26 am

could salt spray from a windy day at the beach also trigger a deadly battery fire?

Probably not. Salt spray will pretty much be limited to the surface areas of the car.

Sounds like the battery needs to be soaked in salt water, so that salt can penetrate to the inner connections of the battery.

Rich Davis
Reply to  MarkW
September 3, 2023 11:47 am

I imagine that you’re correct. The batteries must be at least somewhat sealed against the weather, as they presumably are also somewhat protected against road debris flying up and puncturing cells to cause short circuits.

Let’s not mimic the baseless fear-mongering that greentards deploy against all industry just because we oppose policies forcing an end to internal combustion engines.

Having said that, gasoline fires are manageable in most cases. Lithium ion battery fires are not manageable. Not every gas fire totals the car. With battery fires you’re lucky if the fire only demolishes the car and not your house as well.

Reply to  Rich Davis
September 4, 2023 7:28 am

I once had a gas line fire on my car because the fuel line from the tank chafed on the structure. I was able to put it out with a small water bottle that I had in the car. Can’t imagine doing that with an electric battery fire.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  MarkW
September 4, 2023 7:50 am

I’m no expert but these people say they have developed a protected EV Containment Unit (EVCU) with a built in water supply which recirculates water for continual cooling and fire suppression.

They say “this is not a submersion unit as major EV manufacturers state their batteries should not be submerged in water as this can initiate or accelerate thermal runaway. In addition it creates huge amounts of contaminated water. EVCU uses the principle of water turning to steam to suppress fire development around the vehicle and to continually cool battery compartments to help prevent thermal runaway from developing within the battery compartment.”


September 3, 2023 10:43 am

My question – could salt spray from a windy day at the beach also trigger a deadly battery fire?”

I suppose so. But here’s what Kelly Blue Book says w.r.t. the larger question. Maybe it’s time to add THEM to the ever expanding list of AGW conspirators….


Rich Davis
Reply to  bigoilbob
September 3, 2023 11:26 am

Right big oily boob, nobody here at WUWT ever makes any arguments against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) other than specious conspiracy theories. And we’re all denying AGW or GW for that matter, right? There’s no nuance, am I right? Distinctions about catastrophic vs harmless or beneficial? No, no, no, no! There’s some warming therefore the end of the world is nigh! END CAPITALISM!

Gunga Din
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 3, 2023 3:56 pm

You forgot to add “Existential Threat”!
(And a “/sarc” tag.) 😎

Mark Whitney
Reply to  bigoilbob
September 3, 2023 11:52 am

That link states the majority of fires were due to collisions. I have not heard of many ICE vehicles spontaneously combusting while parked, which seems to be the significant liability where EVs are concerned.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  bigoilbob
September 3, 2023 1:00 pm

Are we comparing like with like?

The average age of cars in the UK is 8.4years. That makes a large proportion ICE and over 9 years old. On the other hand BEVs will be only 2 or 3 years old. There will be more badly maintained 10+ year old ICE vehicles than the total number of BEVs.
I’d like to see data for pre-MOT* petrol versus electric before making my mind up.

* MOT is a road worthiness test for cars and vans. It is a trigger point for many owners to change cars despite warranties of 5 & 7 years being common.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 3, 2023 1:33 pm

Correct point. ICE vehicles burst into flames because of accidents (which are a problem in themselves) or due to dodgy wiring.

The wiring issue arises when the cars get old.
EVs are not yet old.

Hybrids and EVs catch fire when the battery is damaged. And once the battery starts burning it’s hard to stop.

I clip the linked article as an image but have never added a pic before so don’t know if this will work.

Fire Risk Cars.jpg
Rud Istvan
Reply to  MCourtney
September 3, 2023 2:38 pm

It depends on the battery. All EV’s are LiIon for range. Some hybrids are as well (advantage smaller battery, for example Ford hybrid Focus). But most hybrids are NiMH using aqueous potassium hydroxide as electrolyte. Since hybrids, they don’t undergo extended charge discharge, so last a long time. Examples include all non-plug in Prius, and my 14 year old Ford Escape hybrid. Even if those butteries were to short, they could not burn.

Richard Page
Reply to  MCourtney
September 3, 2023 5:20 pm

Outside of Hollywood films, ICE cars rarely ‘burst into flames’ – a bit of smoke tends to happen then flames only if the fuel line has been ruptured. Usually it’s a small electrical fault that is fairly simple to control.

Reply to  MCourtney
September 3, 2023 5:43 pm

I don’t understand the numbers in that table. For instance,it lists the recall for the 2020 Hynda Elantra as 430,000 vehicles, but the Elantra Wiki lists a total of 321986 worldwide which includes 105,475 sold in the US. Which means another 108014 unaccounted for. Could it be that the Wiki entry is wrong?

Actually just wondering where the table came from and the source of the numbers…

Reply to  Yirgach
September 4, 2023 1:17 pm

It’s from the article that is linked as evidence in Bigoilbob’s link at the head of this thread.
Gas vs. Electric Car Fires [2023 Findings] | AutoinsuranceEZ.com

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 3, 2023 1:35 pm

In addition to the average age of the cars, the driving patterns for the two types of cars are not comparable.
It really is fascinating how hard EV enthusiasts work to avoid a true like to like comparison.

Lee Riffee
Reply to  bigoilbob
September 3, 2023 1:34 pm

Did you know that most cat bites are from domestic cats, rather than lions, tigers, leopards and other big cats? Therefore, everyone should be worried about fluffy the housecat but have no fear of a tiger should you have the misfortune to run into one.
So yes, house cats bite far more people than any other kind of cat, but unlike most other cats, they are commonly kept in and around homes and people. Plus, you get bit by one, you grab some antiseptic and a bandaid (and maybe get a tetanus shot and/or rabies shots if you can’t find out if the cat has had its shots). You get bit by a tiger, you will be lucky to just come away with major injuries and not die.
ICE cars – #1, far, far more common. #2 – grab a fire extinguisher. If that doesn’t work, then call the fire dept and they will have it out in a jiffy.
EVs – #1 – very few in existence compared to ICE. #2 – Doesn’t matter what you do if one is on fire….do what you can to keep stuff around it from also burning and just wait until it burns itself out.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Lee Riffee
September 4, 2023 5:20 pm

And hold your breath for the few hours it spews toxic smoke?

Reply to  bigoilbob
September 3, 2023 11:29 pm

That’s ok blobbo… you go ahead and park your EV in your attached garage. Charge it up. 😉

(even though you probably still drive an ICE)

Dave Andrews
Reply to  bigoilbob
September 4, 2023 8:04 am

You do know don’t you that EV sales were only around 10m in 2022 (IEA) bringing the world total to about 17m. That compares to the 1.4 BILLION ICE vehicles in the world so of course there are going to be more fires in ICEVs. It’s fires as a percentage of EV sales that is the important figure.

Reply to  Dave Andrews
September 4, 2023 2:32 pm

The records from NTSB are per 100,000 vehicles. That is not absolute number of fires, although that is available, too. But as you say, just not as useful.

However, it does not take into account the age of the vehicles, or how many vehicles were destroyed by those fires. Doesn’t address how many of those fires were in unattended vehicles. So, the NTSB data is not satisfactory.

September 3, 2023 10:52 am

Takes me back a bit but a Japanese customer demanded our 4G/WiFi routers were MIL-STD-810 Salt Fog compliant. Rats in crawl spaces apparently the reason. Put two and two together.

September 3, 2023 11:18 am

Correct, full immersion isn’t necessary; the marine humidity will do the same thing, it just takes longer.

September 3, 2023 11:49 am

The alarmists will never be able to cancel physics & chemistry and both are against the green agenda

Thomas Finegan
September 3, 2023 12:16 pm

Highway driving in cold weather states puts vehicles in a road salt mist. I attached a pic showing salt residue buildup on a car. EV’s must be able to resist this or they won’t last one winter

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Thomas Finegan
September 3, 2023 12:48 pm

Nobody ever washes road salt from the underside, wheel arches and other salt traps.
On a not very well maintained 10+ year old EV this is something to worry about.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 3, 2023 4:14 pm

I don’t have an EV but, when the temps allow, I do go for the undercarriage at my car wash.
I do wonder, if I had an EV, if adding water to dried salt would be wise to do.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Gunga Din
September 3, 2023 4:47 pm

I have a 24 year old Audi A4 at my place in Chicagoland. Pristine garaged, because every time before I leave for Fort Lauderdale I put the car thru a serious local car wash (heated water in winter) including the underside. Same gas station that also fills the tank before put away so no condensation possible. 24 years on factory installed fuel filter.
Aside, will never buy another Audi. At 10 years, dealer suggested replacing fuel filter. I said fine, how much? $1500! Reason, the damn fuel filter is above the gas tank in the back above the rear axle, both of which you have to remove to replace the stupidly placed fuel filter! As opposed to the usual easy engine compartment gas hose access. No thanks.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 3, 2023 8:08 pm

Even worse, the fuel pump is often placed inside the gas tank. To replace that little jewel you have to remove the gas tank, plus whatever is blocking you from removing the gas tank.
Empty said gas tank and then flush it with an inert gas until you are sure that there is no oxygen left inside. Then use a welder to cut a hole big enough in the tank to reach in and replace the fuel pump. Then weld a patch over the hole you just cut in the tank, and put everything back together.

Ben Vorlich
September 3, 2023 12:41 pm

Every winter salt is applied to the roads in the UK. Depending on the amount of frost and snow sometimes quite large amounts over several months.

Owners of BEVs should be praying for continued warming.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
September 3, 2023 4:26 pm

Before I retired work sent me Calgary Canada for 3 two week trainings on our new SCADA system. 2 in March and one in November. Still cold up there.
I was surprised to see that they didn’t spread salt. Instead they spread gravel about a size between sand and “pea gravel”.
Maybe EVs should only be used in such cold?

Richard Page
Reply to  Gunga Din
September 3, 2023 5:25 pm

Ah so you favour the quick ‘gravel thrown up under the car like shotgun pellets’ approach rather than the slower ‘salt water corrosion’ approach?

J Boles
September 3, 2023 1:03 pm

Here in Michigan they use LOTS of road salt in winter, and then when dirt roads get dry and dusty in summer they chloride water spray the dirt roads to quell dust.

Mike Maguire
September 3, 2023 1:40 pm

Hurricanes and other severe weather events are associated with widespread electrical power outages.

How does the owner of an electric battery powered vehicle charge their car during one of these outages?

Answer: They don’t!

Generators can provide electricity to keep the battery from dying. However, they create uneven or irregular waves of electrical current that could potentially damage the car’s battery. This can be avoided if you use an inverter to attach to your generator or a generator with an inverter built in.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Mike Maguire
September 3, 2023 4:28 pm

In California, they just battery powered electric generators. C’mon Man!

Mike Maguire
Reply to  Gunga Din
September 3, 2023 7:23 pm

Yeah, Gunga!
The energy to generate the power in a generator?
Burning fossil fuels.

So instead of the power plants burning the fossil fuels to generate the grid scale electricity used to charge the batteries in our cars, we can buy an expensive generator and inverter to burn the fossil fuels at home in order to partially charge the batteries when the power is out.

And the benefits?

Especially to entities in the industries exploiting the governments really bad policies so they can profit on economy damaging, energy reliability compromising dynamics.

America, in the DarkWind, solar, and … blackouts?

Reply to  Mike Maguire
September 3, 2023 7:09 pm

A non-invertor generator will also cause damage to any attached sensitive solid state electrical equipment. Like AV, computer etc…

Mike Maguire
Reply to  Yirgach
September 4, 2023 11:23 am


September 3, 2023 3:55 pm

Not sure about salt mist but a better bet is that climate change will be blamed and federal funds requested. Call it Superstorm Salty.

September 3, 2023 7:54 pm

Where does the salt enter the picture with Li-ion batteries? Aren’t they sealed/enclosed like any battery? Or is it the multitude of connector/connections in an EV and the high voltage? I live close to the Pacific Ocean and salt damage is common but none of my Li-ion batteries, some outside, have shown any corrosion beyond what normal batteries encounter. Battery or connector/high voltage problem?

Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
September 3, 2023 9:26 pm

All you need is a concentration gradient and diffusion will eventually do the rest.

Peta of Newark
September 3, 2023 8:07 pm

(road) de-icing salt is THE prime killer for almost all cars in the UK.
(Apart from BMW, their worst enemy is their keeper/driver)

Not just in winter-time when it’s actually being spread on the roads but that is when it ‘gets into’ the vehicles..

  • via salty water spray as the cars are driven on treated (wet) road
  • as very fine dust when the treated road dries out

Sodium Chloride (NaCl) salt is the worst possible substance that could possibly be used – it simply eats the metals that cars are mostly made of = steel, aluminium and copper

To do that ‘eating’ requires the salt to be in aqueous solution but for NaCl, that is no problemo – because it is extremely hygroscopic – it pulls water out of humid air.
(Use bowls/saucers of salt placed around your home as a ‘poor man’s dehumidifier‘. Purpose made devices containing Calcium Chloride are readily and cheaply available at homeware stores everywhere. Similar substance, same principle)

Once salt in any form, spray or dust gets past/through whatever water/corrosion protection the car has, then that is it for your car.
Curtains. Finito. Kaput. End

In all EVs, the battery is placed in The Worst Place Possible = the place on most cars where corrosion caused by salt actually, often unseen, actually starts
i.e. Underneath and as close to the road as possible. Complete insanity.

Re: Cuba
Yes the motor engineers & mechanics there are very adept and ingenious for keeping all those old american bangers going for as long as they do – BUT – Cuba does not use or ever need to use road de-icing salt. And that is why those old motors hang together for as long as they do.

boilboob‘ in a comment here informs us that the ‘burn rate’ for ICE cars is massively higher than it is for EVs..

Yesssssss BUT, 95% of all car fires are initiated electrically.
Either the wiring is damaged in crashes/collisions or,
Salt/water has got into electrical connectors which have subsequently overheated and then ignited the insulation around the wires and the fire has spread from there.
Petrol/gasoline/diesel: Do Not Just Spontaneously Combust

Or, and I’ve personally witnessed this in cars and in houses, rodents get in there. For whatever reason, they simply chew plastic.
Chewing away at live electric wires is never a good idea but rats & mice also love plastic water pipes/plumbing.

The battery of any EV is composed of many 1000’s of individual cells – all of which are

  • ‘permanently live’,
  • invisible to everyone
  • dependant on myriad intricate connections

If any individual cell, for whatever reason ‘goes rogue’ either though a fault in its own chemistry or a fault in the electrical connections it needs to its manager (keeping it safe) – any one cell within 1000’s can act as a detonator/trigger to a chain reaction that will ignite all its peers.
And ‘going rogue’ can be as simple as overheating beyond (for lithium ion cells) beyond 60 or 70 Celsius.
Or being hit by a bit of debris coming up off the road.

Worst case scenario for overheating is where a cell has lost its connection to its manager and an attempt is made to ‘rapid charge’ the battery. The primary task of said manager is to ‘watch the temperature‘ and thence put the brakes on potential overcharging/overheating.
If that fragile thin little wire has been dissolved by salt, is broken from vibration, or impact, or been chewed by a mouse – the manager doesn’t see the overheating while the battery is recharging.
So bang goes that cell – and the whole battery, your car, house, bus-station or shopping-mall rapidly follows.

Even before all those cells are enclosed/made of, steel cases. Salt Water loves nothing more than eating steel.
Apart from: Eating Copper. Aluminium is yummy too.

Here’s one for the ever perfect and faultless Rud – always so quick off the mark to protest his innocence and purity.
Anyway, it’s an intrepid chap (of electrical inclination I’ve pointed to previously) investigating NiMH cells…
(I dropped you in at the interesting bit but its all ‘good stuff’)

September 3, 2023 8:22 pm

I recall fifty or so years ago when involved with an industrial operation near Geelong in Victoria we were investigating dust fall out. Most of the material in the dust collectors was in fact salt from the ocean 20km distant.

September 3, 2023 9:28 pm

Regarding the caption on top of the (purported) photograph of a 9 V battery that is, supposedly, submerged in salt water: Why aren’t there any bubbles of oxygen seen near the positive terminal of the battery?

After all the process being described is the electrolysis of water (H2O) into the gaseous components hydrogen and oxygen.

I suspect “photoshopping” to be in play.

September 4, 2023 1:35 am

One of the EV cars taken off the burned out Freemantle Highway car carrier, burst into flames when it was being unloaded – a full month after the main fire.

See the Yootube video by John Cadogan Auto Expert.


September 4, 2023 1:39 am

‘But this is certainly a question I would be asking myself, if I owned an electric vehicle.’

Nope: anyone who owns an EV doesn’t ask themselves questions ever.

September 4, 2023 1:43 am

China has had a rash of EV fires recently, salt or no salt. Apparently, standards on the cheaper Chinese EVs, are not very good. However, even BYD has had many fired.

See the videos by SerpentZa.


D Boss
September 4, 2023 3:24 am

Salty spray? Don’t be silly! First off Palm Beach County is on the east side of the Florida peninsula, and did not get any salt water flooding from Idalia. We barely got any significant rain from the beast as it was some 2-300 miles to the west of us.

Next a mist or even spray of salt water is not going to cause shorts in an EV.
Next water immersion can cause serious problems for any and all modern ICE vehicles, except there they don’t catch fire, they merely die and become boat anchors (pretty much useless).

I am retired and keep active and busy working part time as an automotive repair tech. We’ve seen a dozen water issues with BMW and Mercedes over the last few years. For example an idiot lady trying to save a few dollars took some 5 gallon buckets to a grocery store to fill them up with bottled water from a dispenser, and left them in the back of a Mercedes SUV without lids and stopped hard and 10 gallons spilled in the interior, and it immediately died and had to be towed.

Turns out about 7 of the 30 or so computer modules in a Mercedes are located under the carpets and the repair bill for replacing 5 of them plus reprogramming was $4500.

No salt spray isn’t going to cause your dumba$$ EV to catch fire, but a minor fender bender impact can, as the majority of the battery fires are from internal shorts within the battery structure and they are not very tolerant of even small impact G forces.

Water immersion, salt or fresh can also cause shorts, but rain and spray – extremely unlikely.

Still the bottom line is EV’s are stupid and even a 5 MPH crash causes insurance to write them off (because of the battery’s intolerance to small impact forces) Immerse any car in flood waters, salt or fresh and it is a write off. Added outcome for EV’s is they may or will catch fire from shorts after being flooded. But spray is pretty much a non issue.

September 4, 2023 3:33 am

An interesting and very detailed NTSB investigation …

On Saturday, July 23, 2022, at about 3:39 a.m. eastern daylight time, a 2021 New Flyer Xcelsior battery electric 40-foot transit bus, operated by CT Transit, began emitting smoke from the rear compartment while parked inside a maintenance facility in Hamden, New Haven County, Connecticut.


September 4, 2023 3:42 am

So, they are admitting to 2, so far. Called a “limited hang out”, so later they can say they told everyone already.

September 4, 2023 4:26 am

Condensing salt fog deposits salt on everything near US Pacific beaches. Everything gets rapidly corroded. High voltage transmission line insulators have to get washed annually to prevent faults.

Lots of EVs in this type of climate in California. No stories of spontaneous combustion.

Good chance the Florida story is BS – or limited to a handful of vehicles with manufacturing defects.

When properly built, EV electric systems are fully sealed.

Reply to  vboring
September 4, 2023 8:14 am

“When properly built, EV electric systems are fully sealed.”

Hmmm . . . Tesla’s Emergency Responder Guide (https://www.tesla.com/sites/default/files/downloads/tesla_roadster_emergency_responder_guide.pdf ) refers to only the individual battery cells within a vehicle’s battery pack being hermetically sealed.

This implies that the battery pack itself is NOT hermetically sealed, as seems reasonable given the need to equalize pressure across the battery pack enclosure due potentially varying external air pressure. For example, at 10,000 ft altitude*, the standard atmosphere external pressure is 4.6 psi lower than a sea-level, so without ambient pressure equalization across the enclosure, the flat 27 inch long by 11.5 inch wide top and bottom panels of the enclosure for the smallest of Tesla battery packs (those used on the Model S and Model X vehicles, but not in the Model 3) would have to be designed to support a total differential pressure loading of 1,430 pounds force, assuming the internal pressure of the enclosure was sealed at 14.7 psia. This would make the battery packs, with enclosures, unacceptably heavy.

So, depending on the degree the battery enclosure venting system has effective moisture ingress prevention control, it appears problematic that external humidity/liquid water is actually prevented from entering an EV’s battery pack over time, and thus causing internal corrosion and possible electrical shorting.

*Leadville, CA is at an elevation of 10,200 feet above sea-level.

Steve Keohane
Reply to  ToldYouSo
September 5, 2023 8:45 am

That’s CO, not CA.

Reply to  Steve Keohane
September 5, 2023 12:10 pm

Yes, you are correct. My typo.

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