Despite their current inadequacies and flaws, many people continue buying electric vehicles. Whether in the hope of appearing virtuous and committed to reducing emissions by buying a luxury automobile, hoping for a tax break on a new purchase, or for some other reason, people just keep getting them. Attendant with that this the risk of a near-impossible to put out battery fire, as a homeowner in Florida just learned.
That homeowner is in Nocatee, Florida, an area near Jacksonville, and she had a 2023 Mercedes Benz EQE350+ as a loaner vehicle while her car was being serviced. That pricey car, one which retails for more than $70,000, caught fire in the garage after she had it for just 22 hours. Though not even charging, the battery somehow caught on fire in the sweltering Florida heat and soon the car turned into a roaring blaze.
That bonfire became a bigger problem as it spread, as the car was parked in the garage connected to the man’s house. The garage soon caught fire with the car and ended up causing over a million dollars in damage to the home, though fortunately no people or animals were harmed in the battery-induced bonfire.
Speaking about the incident, Jennifer Ruotolo said, “It was parked in the garage, about 22 hours and then it caught fire. I was at work. About 8:30 and my husband heard a hiss and a pop, and he went into the garage full of smoke. It engulfed in flames and exploded.”
Continuing, she noted that the fire is so extensive that the house will probably need to be torn down to be repaired, and she is currently sifting through the soot to determine what personal belongings she and her husband have that are worth trying to save. She said, “Engulfed the entire garage, and as you can see to the attic, and to the second floor and we believe the house is a tear down.”
She added that the fire-prone cars don’t seem ready for the market, saying, “As a loaner vehicle, we expected it would function and be safe. I could be biased but I don’t think they’re ready for market. This is Mercedes brand. I can’t speak for all of them, but I would not recommend buying one anytime soon.”
But, she added that she is grateful her husband and pets were unharmed despite being right next to the fire when it started, saying, “I feel blessed that my husband is alive. He was right on the next side of the wall. He could be, should be dead and he’s alive and our puppy is alive so I’m thankful for that. This could have been devastating and lifechanging but at this point it is just a challenge.”
In any case, it does seem that more needs to be done by the EV manufacturers to stop the battery fires from happening in the first place and making them easier to put out when they occur, as EV fires will become a bigger and bigger problem as the vehicles become more prolific.
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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