Fire safety experts have hailed the decision by the Italian municipality of Ravenna to order a 15-day quarantine of all electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid cars that suffered recent flooding.
Emma Sutcliffe of EV FireSafe said the 15-day quarantine, for all EVs and hybrids that were submerged in flood waters, was “a smart move”. Lithium battery fire safety expert Dr Paul Christensen of Newcastle University said it was an “excellent initiative on the part of Ravenna.”
The order, issued by a notice on 25 May from the northern Italian municipality, came at the request of the local fire brigade in the interests of public safety. This followed reports of a previously submerged Nissan Leaf catching fire. The cause has yet to be determined.
The instruction is that vehicles must remain outdoors for the entire period, and parked at least five metres from other vehicles or buildings.
Ravenna is close to the coast, so EVs may have been submerged in salt water. Batteries shorting and catching fire after salt water immersion was an issue in Florida, US, following Hurricane Ian in September 2022.
Florida fire marshal Jimmy Patronis said then that salt water reacting with EV batteries could be a “ticking time bomb”.
Sutcliffe said flood damaged cars from Hurricane Ian were sold online and her organisation believes two later went into thermal runaway in other states.