Patronis Still Looking For Tesla To Address Car Batteries Blowing up

Patronis Still Looking For Tesla To Address Car Batteries Blowing up

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
October 12, 2022

While the State of Florida rebuilds infrastructure after Hurricane Ian, one privately-owned company has a unique challenge of its own. Recent instances of Tesla electric vehicles catching fire after saltwater reaches the lithium-ion battery have appeared. With Floridians owning 95,000 electric vehicles, the second-highest number in the country, it seems unfortunately inevitable some would fall victim to flooding.

Tesla does not appear to be fully engaged in addressing the battery issue their cars are having. Just recently, several homes burnt down on Sanibel Island because of the battery issue, days after the storm.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis spoke with The Floridian's Javier Manjarres about the issue recently, demanding greater cooperation from Tesla.

"Florida is number two in the nation with the number of electric vehicles," Patronis begins. "There's almost 100,000 in the state of Florida. I think a unique set of circumstances has been presented because of Hurricane Ian, was a flood event. Saltwater and lithium-ion batteries do not mix." He states that while guidance on how to fight these fires exists, Tesla and other manufacturers should be more active in helping deal with the issue. "So the problem that we're having is that these EVs are catching fire. So now guidance has been sent out on how deal with it, but really, I feel like the manufacturers have got to lean in further. We need a partnership."

Patronis cites recent instances of homes that were damaged by the hurricane rendered complete losses due to electric vehicle fires.

"As reports from local fire authorities yesterday and today, is we've had two houses burn down because an EV was in the garage. The houses had sustained damage, but now the houses are total losses because of the EV that caught fire. One of the EVs was pulled out, it's in a parking lot now, because it's a damaged vehicle, it caught fire again just a few minutes ago," said Patronis. "So you've got a combustible material in the lithium-ion batteries, and you can't put them out through conventional means, and unfortunately, there's side effects that aren't healthy for our first responders, and now I'm thinking also of those individuals that may have a home that survived, but won't know any better to get their EV out of the garage."

Patronis reiterated the need for Tesla and other EV manufacturers to provide stronger support in dealing with their products' combustibility hindering recovery.

"We just need some lean-forward guidance with these manufacturers," added Patronis.

When asked if Telsa has indeed responded to Florida's request for help, Patronis said, "We've had some dialogue with Tesla."

"Their representatives have shot me some information. But again, it's heightened over the last twelve hours. We've had, I believe, four cars that have caught on fire. So again, it's a popular car, EVs are popular, the federal government has provided a lot of incentive for people to buy EVs, and unfortunately, this market of the state has been affected because of Mother Nature and the storm surge of Hurricane Ian has done to complicate a solution, probably, of how we deal with them, he concluded."

Of four reported incidents of EV vehicle batteries catching fire, vehicle manufactures include Mercedes and Jeep.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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