Do EV Batteries Burn Things Down?

In an unlikely pairing, the U.S. Coast Guard and electric vehicles (EVs) have converged in a recent blog post that sheds light on a critical aspect of EV ownership – the impact of saltwater on batteries. This information, released on the official U.S. Coast Guard website, might not seem directly related to your daily drive, but it holds significant implications, especially if you live in a coastal area or regions where snow and ice mitigation involves salt.

Coast Guard Safety Alert: Saltwater Intrusion and EV Batteries

The U.S. Coast Guard recently issued a safety alert that addresses the potential dangers of saltwater intrusion on electric vehicle batteries during transportation on cargo boats and shipping containers. The alert emphasizes that saltwater intrusion can not only cause damage to these batteries but, more critically, can lead to fires, posing an extreme risk. The Coast Guard’s stern warning is directed towards vessels, ports, and shippers, urging them to be aware of this risk and avoid loading EVs with damaged lithium-ion batteries onto commercial vehicles.

Why Does It Matter to EV Owners?

At first glance, the connection between the Coast Guard’s safety alert and electric vehicle ownership might not be apparent. However, it holds relevance for EV owners, especially those residing in coastal regions or areas with winter weather that involves salt mitigation on the roads.

1. Coastal Living:

If you’re an EV owner living near the coast, such as in California, Oregon, Washington, Florida, Texas, New York, New Jersey, or Virginia, this information is particularly pertinent. Coastal areas are prone to saltwater exposure, and if your EV’s battery is damaged, the risk of saltwater intrusion becomes a real concern.

2. Snow and Ice Mitigation:

Even if you don’t live near the ocean, if you reside in regions where snow and ice mitigation involve the use of salt on roads (common in states like Maine, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota), the risk of saltwater intrusion remains. The salinity content of road salt can be high enough to pose a threat to your EV’s battery.

Understanding the Risks: Extreme Caution Advised

The Coast Guard categorizes saltwater intrusion into EV batteries as an “extreme risk.” While the exact level of risk may vary depending on the extent of battery damage, it’s crucial for EV owners to be aware of this potential hazard. The concern goes beyond cosmetic issues; a damaged battery can pose a significant threat, leading to fires that can result in severe property damage.

Takeaways for EV Owners: Stay Vigilant

To mitigate this risk, EV owners are encouraged to take a proactive approach:

  • Regularly inspect your EV’s battery for any signs of damage.
  • If you suspect damage, seek professional inspection and repair.
  • Stay informed about the conditions in your area that may contribute to saltwater exposure.

Conclusion: A Warning from the Coast Guard

While the U.S. Coast Guard’s safety alert might not be part of mainstream knowledge for consumers, it underscores the importance of being informed about potential risks associated with EV ownership. By staying vigilant and taking necessary precautions, EV owners can ensure the safety of their vehicles and properties.

Be aware, stay informed, and drive safely.

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