Chevrolet Volt Flunks Two Out of Three Crash Tests, Triggers Formal Investigation
November 28, 2011 9:44 AM
comment(s) - last by
NHTSA says it is too soon to recall vehicles or parts
As promised, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) looked into the safety of lithium batteries after a
caught fire back in May. After conducting three different tests two weeks ago, the NHTSA found that the Volt's battery either caught fire or began to smoke in two out of the three.
General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt underwent several tests in a NHTSA Wisconsin facility earlier this year. On May 12, 2011, it experienced the side-impact crash test. Three weeks later, the plug-in electric vehicle (EV) caught fire while parked in the NHTSA testing center.
The fire, which was fierce enough to burn other vehicles parked nearby, prompted an investigation of the Chevrolet Volt and the safety of lithium batteries.
The NHTSA conducted side-impact crash tests for the Chevrolet Volt on November 16, 17 and 18. After each test, the batteries of the three separate Volts were then rotated 180 degrees. Out of the three tests, two resulted in fire, smoke or sparks while one remained normal.
The November 16 test had normal results, while the November 17 test led to a battery fire one week later and the November 18 test caused the battery to smoke and emit sparks. The battery packs of the three Volts were not drained after any of the crashes.
The results have led to a formal investigation of the safety of the Chevrolet Volt and its lithium battery.
"While it is too soon to tell whether the investigation will lead to a recall of any vehicles or parts, if NHTSA identifies an unreasonable risk to safety, the agency will take immediate action to notify consumers and ensure that GM communicates with current vehicle owners," said NHTSA.
GM has said that it launched a system where first responders immediately depower the battery of a Chevrolet Volt after a severe crash. This is safety protocol because lithium batteries can catch fire if the internal cells or the battery case are pierced by steel or another ferrous metal. Even the slightest piercing of the battery can lead to a reaction days or weeks later.
"The Volt is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash," said GM after the NHTSA's tests this month. "GM and the agency's focus and research continue to be on battery performance, handling, storage and disposal after a crash or other significant event, like a fire, to better serve first- and secondary-responders."
NHTSA and GM have both said that they are unaware of any battery-related fires caused by roadway crashes involving customers. However, NHTSA advised
to remain cautious in the event of a crash as they would in a gasoline or diesel-fueled vehicle. The NHTSA's advice includes stepping out of the car and moving away from it while contacting authorities. When responders arrive, they are to check for markings that it is an EV and use large amounts of water on the vehicle if there are any signs of a fire. They are to then contact experts at the vehicle's manufacturer on how to discharge a propulsion battery.
There are currently 6,000 Volt owners on the roads, but the number of EVs cruising around in the U.S. is expected to increase because U.S. President Barack Obama is looking to
put 1 million EVs on the roads by 2015
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: There will always be something.
12/4/2011 7:39:08 PM
I would consider the actual number of Volts on the road, versus how many suffer impact. Also taking into consideration that those impacted would have the batteries properly discharged and/or removed. Yes, insignificant. These are not pintos that explode on impact. These are fires that may occur days or weeks after impact when not properly discharged. Significant only for the tow lot that failed to contain a potential issue.
"This is about the Internet. Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
CA Volt Drivers to Receive $1,500 Rebate, HOV Access; GM Charges EVs via Solar Tree
November 17, 2011, 10:45 AM
Chevrolet Volt Has Best-Ever Sales Month in October
November 2, 2011, 9:42 AM
Obama Aims for $10k EVs, 20,000+ Charging Stations, and 1M EVs by 2015
July 14, 2010, 10:01 AM
Automaker Porsche may expand range of Panamera Coupe design.
September 18, 2016, 11:00 AM
Uber - Everyone's Autonomous Car Driver?
August 20, 2016, 6:01 AM
Volkswagens Vulnerable to Hacking Attacks
August 14, 2016, 1:08 PM
2017 Porsche Panamera: I’ll Take Three of These.
July 24, 2016, 6:44 PM
Ford, Toyota, and Universal Pictures Celebrate "Back to the Future Day' in Style
October 21, 2015, 4:19 PM
Consumer Reports Flexes Muscle, Hits Slumping Tesla Motors Stock
October 20, 2015, 4:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Update: Problem-Free Galaxy Note7s CPSC Approved
September 22, 2016, 5:30 AM
FDA Cleared, Shockwave Lithoplasty for Peripheral Vascular Disease
September 22, 2016, 5:45 AM
Walmart may get "Robot Shopping Carts?"
September 17, 2016, 6:01 AM
Are you ready for this ? HyperDrive Aircraft
September 24, 2016, 9:29 AM
Smartphone Screen Protectors – What To Look For
September 21, 2016, 9:33 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Burlington Gun Attack
Sep 27, 2016, 5:00 AM
Who is in Risk of Getting Oral Cancer?
Sep 23, 2016, 6:02 AM
France Bans Plastic Eating Utensils in Restaurants
Sep 18, 2016, 10:49 AM
Progress Against Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Sep 17, 2016, 5:30 AM
Apple Watch Series 2 - Number 1 in the Customer Satisfaction.
Sep 7, 2016, 6:19 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information