Evacuation Preparedness and Flood Protection for Your EV

In the United States, there are nearly 2.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road, and over 200,000 of them reside in Florida. That number grows daily, ranking the Sunshine State second in the country in EV registrations. As you might guess, California is number one.

In addition to the gas savings and environmental perks EV drivers enjoy, for owners in flood-prone areas there are important, life-saving things to consider. And during hurricane season, all EV enthusiasts should plan ahead.

Evacuating in an EV

  • Know your evacuation zone and route. If you are unsure of either, visit Hillsborough County's HEAT Map for the information you need.
  • Maintain a 100% battery charge. If your evacuation plans include leaving in your EV, maintain a 100% EV battery charge at all times during hurricane season. When the evacuation order happens, you and your EV will be ready.
  • Know your vehicle's range. Understand how far your vehicle can go on a full battery and make your evacuation plans accordingly. Depending on the model, driving conditions, and driving habits, an EV can usually go between 150 - 400 miles on a full battery. Know your limits.
  • Avoid relying on charging stations. During an evacuation, charging stations will likely have long lines or even power outages.

EVs and flooding

  • Never drive through flood water. Water and EV batteries do not mix! Water will not only damage the battery but can lead to a dangerous battery fire. Combustion can happen in an instant or manifest weeks or months after exposure to salt water.
  • Don't drive or charge an EV that has been flooded or submerged for all of the reasons above

Leaving your EV behind

  • If you evacuate and leave your EV behind, don't leave it parked in the garage. If your garage takes on water, and salt water floods the battery, a fire may occur.
  • When leaving an EV behind, maintain your EV battery at only a 30% charge
  • Park your EV 50 feet away from any structure or other vehicle. Storm surge can harm the battery and increase fire risk.
  • Do not leave your EV plugged into the charging station

There are simple safety rules to follow when disposing of your lithium-ion battery, especially those batteries exposed to flood waters. Do not discard the batteries in regular trash. As mentioned above, batteries that have been flooded or exposed to salt water pose an increased fire risk.

All lithium-ion batteries - or any flammable chemicals for that matter - should be disposed of at Community Collection Centers or Household Hazardous Waste events. Each battery must be placed in an individual plastic zip close bag for safe transport.