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Some Tesla fires were reportedly caused by Idalia floods

As Florida embarks on the difficult work of cleaning up the damage caused by last week’s powerful Hurricane Idalia, local fire crews warned owners of electric cars caught up in floods to immediately move their vehicles away from buildings as a safety measure.

The alert was issued via the Facebook account of firefighters in Palm Harbor, Florida, after reports emerged of electric batteries in two Tesla cars suddenly combusting after exposure to saltwater, CBS News reported, adding that one of the Tesla cars went up in flames as it was being towed by fire crews.

“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 firefighters’ Facebook post said, adding: “Saltwater exposure can trigger combustion in lithium-ion batteries. If possible, transfer your vehicle to higher ground.”

The message went on to say that the measure should be taken for electric cars and other types of electric vehicles such as golf carts and scooters. “Don’t drive these through water. Palm Harbor Fire Rescue crews have seen numerous residents out in golf carts and children on scooters riding through water.”

In a message on its website, Tesla warns owners of its vehicles to avoid driving their cars if it has been submerged in water for a prolonged period. It offers clear advice on what steps to take in such a situation:

1. Treat your vehicle as if it has been in an accident and contact your insurance company.
2. Do not attempt to operate the vehicle until an authorized shop has inspected it. If you are a Tesla vehicle owner, you can schedule your inspection with Tesla Service.
3. Safely tow or move the vehicle at least 50 feet (15 meters) from structures or other combustible materials such as other cars and personal property.

Submersion won’t necessarily damage your car’s battery, but an inspection by a professional technician will confirm if any work needs to be done and put your mind at rest.

In other recent Tesla news, the company’s boss, Elon Musk, recently got permission to build a Supercharger station with a difference.

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Trevor Mogg
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