Electrified vehicles have had some serious setbacks in public perception, including their limited range, excessive charging times, and higher up-front expenses. Another problem comes from the media, who, every chance they get, paint them as fiery deathtraps, such as a Chevy Volt that caught fire in the NHTSA lab.
The media forgot to mention that the Volt had been through extensive crash testing, and caught fire three weeks later. A Volt driver who’d just wrapped his car around a tree would probably have different concerns for the three weeks after the accident.
After leaving much of the US’ east coast in ruins, Hurricane Sandy’s cost to society is yet to be quantified. Fisker Automotive knows how much it cost them in Port Newark, where a number of the $100,000 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid models caught fire while awaiting transportation. The Karmas that didn’t catch fire are probably destroyed as well.
Hurricane Sandy’s record storm surge submerged the vehicles, causing 16 of them to catch fire. As they were in storage, they were not being charged at the time and so no injuries were reported. Unfortunately, calls to emergency services went unanswered because, at the height of the storm, emergency services were already swamped. The unattended vehicles were completely destroyed.
“If you had a piece of work that you dedicated your life to developing and to see them just burned to the ground like that, from a natural disaster, don’t you think that would be hard to see? said Fisker spokesman Russell Datz.
Drowning in salt water is not a safety issue, but I’m certain the media will make it into one. But just in case you are in danger of drowning in your electrified vehicle, leave the vehicle at once. If any vehicle has been under water, it isn’t worth repairing to begin with.