You might think that people have now been around batteries, electricity, and water long enough to know that mixing those doesn’t work and that letting a battery get submerged in water is going to have some pretty deleterious effects, namely corrosion and destruction.
But some people just don’t learn, or at least don’t think. Some think that because a car looks adventurous, the method by which it is powered isn’t a big deal and it can roll on through water or anything else regardless of its power source, even if that power source is a massive battery and the obstacle in the way is a flood of water.
Such is the story out of New Zealand, where a couple’s insurance agency had to write off their electric car completely after they tried driving it through a stream, as the New Zealand Herald reported, saying:
The couple… say their recently purchased Mitsubishi Outlander electric hybrid was written off by their insurance company after the battery was flooded from trying to cross the Papamoa Stream ford in September.
They say they have given up on the idea of an electric or hybrid vehicle. They had only owned the Outlander for four months and Ivan said the battery of the vehicle had been destroyed from trying to ford the stream. He said he paid $37,000 for the vehicle and it would have cost $42,000 for it to be put back together, with no guarantee it would work.
Varatchaya said they had now bought an older Nissan petrol vehicle which cost more to run but she felt was better suited to fording streams.
So the damage was so severe that the battery would have cost more to replace and the car to fix than to just buy a new one…
Interestingly, the New Zealand Herald article, when discussing what went wrong, tried to pin the blame on the ford not being lined with concrete.
After discussing that, the article quotes Ōpōtiki council engineering and services group manager Stace Lewer as saying, when defending the decision to not line the ford with concrete:
“We do line fords with concrete when the situation is called for. For example, another ford on Pakihi Rd is concrete lined. However, that ford is in constant flow and needs the higher level of protection.”
“This ford crosses a stream with a small catchment and most of the time it has very low flows, and at times it is dry. Of course, after some of the significant rain events recently, it has had higher flows. After these storm events, our contractor crews often need to do some minor repairs, reshaping the ford, usually two or three times a year.”
But when it does flood, it stands to reason that attempting to drag batteries through it, whether those batteries are part of a vehicle or not, probably isn’t the best idea if you don’t want the battery to be destroyed.