GM says electric Volt is safe despite fires

Nov 28, 2011
Visitors admire US auto giant General Motors' plug-in electric vehicle "Chevrolet Volt" in Yokohama, suburban Tokyo in May 2011. General Motors insisted Monday that its Chevrolet Volt is safe to drive despite the launch of a government probe after three of the Volt's electric batteries caught fire following safety tests.

General Motors insisted Monday that its Chevrolet Volt is safe to drive despite the launch of a government probe after three of the Volt's electric batteries caught fire following safety tests.

While there have been no reports of fires outside of government testing facilities, the probe calls into question the safety of electric vehicles at a time when consumers are just beginning to consider them as an alternative.

"New technologies are always held up to intense scrutiny. We welcome it, we expect it," Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said in a conference call.

Reuss called "our industry's moon shot" and insisted that customers have nothing to fear.

"Chevrolet and GM believe in the safety of the Volt," Reuss said.

"My daughter drives this car every day with two kids in it. She continues to drive it and loves it."

GM will nonetheless offer Volt customers a loaner vehicle until the investigation is complete.

The safety of electric batteries is an industry-wide issue and GM is working with federal regulators and other automakers to develop appropriate post-crash protocols, said Mary Barra, GM's senior vice president for global product development.

GM has teams ready to fly out to deal with the batteries whenever the vehicle's OnStar system reports a crash and believes that draining the power ought to eliminate the risk of fire, she said.

The National Administration also cautioned in announcing the probe Friday that "Volt owners whose vehicles have not been in a serious crash do not have reason for concern."

The investigation was launched earlier this month after a damaged in a Volt caught fire three weeks after a .

The NHTSA sought to recreate the fire last week by intentionally damaging the battery compartment and breaking its coolant line. In two of the tests, the batteries caught fire, it said.

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User comments : 14

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tkjtkj
1 / 5 (2) Nov 28, 2011
GM has teams ready to fly out to deal with the batteries whenever the vehicle's OnStar system reports a crash and believes that draining the power ought to eliminate the risk of fire, she said.


"Draining the power"????? Just who does that? Where does the Idrain go? Does the unconsious driver have an active role? Is a huge spike auto-shot into the earth beneath the crashed vehicle, to be used as the drain conductor?? Just how much time would be involved?

I'd sure like to see that resistor!
hard2grep
3 / 5 (2) Nov 28, 2011
Hot! What better way to improve the electric car's image than to catch it on fire before your very eyes; I would most definitely buy one just to see it. I see a remake of "up in smoke" get ready cheech...
_nigmatic10
1 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2011
A GM Spokesperson: "Any open flame is part of our new open flame energy production system and is perfectly safe. "
jimbo92107
1 / 5 (2) Nov 29, 2011
What a sad little two-step GM is doing for its craptastic, flame-on batteries. Just change the car's name to the Torch, and let's all get on with our brief lives.
Vendicar_Decarian
4.5 / 5 (8) Nov 29, 2011
A nice thing about traditional gasoline powered cars is that gasoline isn't flammable and never catches fire in automotive crashes.

tkjtkj
1 / 5 (2) Nov 29, 2011
What a sad little two-step GM is doing for its craptastic, flame-on batteries. Just change the car's name to the Torch, and let's all get on with our brief lives.

hahahaha .... perhaps unfair, but funny .. thanks ..
Norezar
3 / 5 (2) Nov 29, 2011
A nice thing about traditional gasoline powered cars is that gasoline isn't flammable and never catches fire in automotive crashes.



Good point, but you don't often year of a car spontaneously combusting because the fuel pump was drawing too fast from the tank.
FrankHerbert
1 / 5 (8) Nov 29, 2011
No but ignitions at the pump happen all the time so it's kind of a moot point. The point is you can die whether you are "filling" your "tank" or "charging" your "battery". As it stands they both carry a risk but I don't claim to know which is safer. If you have stats and want to talk about odds that's different.
COCO
1 / 5 (2) Nov 29, 2011
like Corvair meets Pinto - Amerikan engineering at its beast.
rawa1
1 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2011
The fire of molten lithium from lithium batteries is entertaining with the fact, it can burn through concrete floor to the lower story. The application of water to such fire just leads into hydrogen explosion. I'm not sure, if it does increase the safety of burning electromobiles.
ABSOLUTEKNOWLEDGE
2 / 5 (4) Nov 29, 2011
gotta hear this

gm ceo made the statment: in our oipinion the volt is safe: so then its safe!!!

u gotta be faking kidding me?

same like establishment scientist like most here
say cold fusion is crack pot science
so then it is so!!!

never mind the fact that Andrea Rossi just sold the first 1MW plant this month and has orders for 20 more cold fusion plants

check it out might wake up from fairy land u live in
while wearing the science pijamas

http://ecat.com/

rawa1
1 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2011
u gotta be faking kidding me?
Nope, sorry - my mistake. I just didn't realize, the GM implemented a safe version of fire into all its vehicles already. This version is fully compliant with all modern safety requirements.
Norezar
not rated yet Nov 29, 2011
u gotta be faking kidding me?
Nope, sorry - my mistake. I just didn't realize, the GM implemented a safe version of fire into all its vehicles already. This version is fully compliant with all modern safety requirements.


Beta features from the up-incoming SteamVolt.

NotAsleep
5 / 5 (1) Nov 29, 2011
GM has teams ready to fly out to deal with the batteries whenever the vehicle's OnStar system reports a crash and believes that draining the power ought to eliminate the risk of fire, she said.


"Draining the power"????? Just who does that? Where does the Idrain go? Does the unconsious driver have an active role? Is a huge spike auto-shot into the earth beneath the crashed vehicle, to be used as the drain conductor?? Just how much time would be involved?


Actually, if you read the paragraph you quoted, they state that GM will send someone out to discharge the batteries.

I don't think they're saying the car is safe by merely ignoring the chance of fire. They're saying it's safe because of the low probability of the fire happening. If the NHTSA is telling us to worry only if we've been in a serious accident then I'd assume they probably had to work pretty hard to damage the battery to cause the fire.

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