Chevy Volt catches on fire.

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Zanrok, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  2. RRxing

    RRxing Senior Member

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  3. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Hymotion plugin conversion in the same location passed NHTSA crash and rollover tests. More information and the actual procedures are available here. The location is not an issue. I am sure PiP will need to pass the tests before going into production.

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  4. Sho-Bud

    Sho-Bud Member

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    I'm not worried about the safety of the Toyota. They did a lot of testing and postponed the use of Li batteries for many years because of safety concerns. I think they will get it right.
     
  5. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    It does make me wonder if the Volt beta testers knew what they are signing up for.
     
  6. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    I just wanted to point out that a small plugin conversion company could design and verified that it didn't burn down after the NHTSA test.

    I would expect more from a big company like GM.
     
  7. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    I expect exactly what we are seeing from GM. Leave the cars on the road, go into PR blitz.
     
  8. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Time to rename to Volt to the GM Barbie Q
     
  9. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    First AFAIK its not the same test. The volt was rotated after the pole test, this would not have been done to a 2009 my prius, unless hymotion specifically requested the new testing. I don't doubt it would have passed, but I can easily design tests that hymotion will do badly at. Not really much of an issue.

    The volt passed all the NHTSA tests well. IIRC, and please correct this, the problem was in lack of safety procedures in handling the car after the fact. This is a mess up on GM's part in not publishing and distributing these procedures. Lack of the procedures are hazardous in storage of a vehicle after a crash, not in safety during the incident. This is also a problem with the NHTSA as they should have required these procedures before crash testing the cars. This shows lack of experience at the NHTSA when it comes to new technology. As I mentioned in a previous post this does not matter as much for the tesla roadster as tesla will likely be informed on every major crash, but GM's volts may be repaired at a large number of non-GM body shops.
     
  10. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    According to this, the post-crash safety procedure was developed after the fire resulted from the May crash test and completed in July.

    One of the November test resulted in smoke and spark "within hours". That would still put it in the scene of an accident. I guess NHTSA considered it as a danger to the public and rescue workers and prompted to investigate further.
     
  11. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    thanks for the link. GM certainly would need to have had internal procedures. Otherwise they would have seen these fires in their own crash testing. This is talking about external procedures, and it seems they still don't have good ones. They require gm personnel to discharge the battery.


    Most normal ICE cars can catch fire after a pole/role over. If it takes hours for the battery to spark and smoke, that really isn't any more dangerous.
     
  12. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Volt has a gas tank too. For the normal ICE car, ignition is probably the catalytic converter. Cat cools down by the hours.

    However, Volt can have second wave of spark or ignition.
     
  13. PriusSport

    PriusSport senior member

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    I think they should probe the flammability of gasoline. Could be dangerous.:)

    Unless a problem is widespread, it isn't a problem. It's just an excuse for somebody to make some money, one way or another.
     
  14. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    lol. you think its safer because it burns while you are in it? :D
    nthsa needs to have these manufactures publish procedures for first responders to drain the batttery power, just as they have procedures to empty a leaky gas tank.

    Seems like just normal incompetence. Not a likely problem. They are now testing naked batteries to try to get them to flame. That is what the November tests are about. The test tries to recreate a roll over that then hits a tree or pole. This is a new test for all cars. Low centers of gravity plus traction control should make all the current plug ins less likely to have this type of accident than the cars they are replacing.
     
  15. oldasdust

    oldasdust Member

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    If things keep coming up on the volt like this..... We have a saying in Chicago na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey goodbye.
     
  16. Maakjar

    Maakjar New Member

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    This is such BS we all drive around with 10 gallons of liquid petroleum in our cars and no one seams to worry about it... Then you get some people not following protocol of battery disposal on the volt and it's all over the news. Come one people get real!!!
     
  17. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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    Agreed on your first point.

    On the second point, GM either hadn't developed such a protocol prior to NHTSA's first crash test or if they did, they didn't tell anyone about them, including NHTSA.
     
  18. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    In June, General Motors learned from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that a Chevrolet Volt caught fire three weeks after a test crash.

    In July GM said it formalized a procedure to power down the battery. The car had been on sale for six months.

    Not until NHTSA did additional testing on Volt batteries in November did GM disclose the potential risk -- and tell owners, dealers and the public that it is critical to drain power from the battery pack immediately after a crash.

    But it kept the procedure to itself as NHTSA, working with GM engineers, continued to crash-test the Volt in an effort to replicate the fire, but without success, GM said.

    Joan Claybrook, a former NHTSA administrator, said, "Not to tell them anything for six months makes no sense to me. NHTSA could have put out a consumer alert and I think they should have done so."

    She added, "I believe they delayed it because of the fragility of [Volt] sales."

    First responders were told to turn off the vehicle and disconnect the battery.

    According to Andrew Klock, a project manager for the fire association, first responders weren't alerted to the battery depowering procedure until after the public announcement last month.

    Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20111205/OEM01/312059954
     
  19. Jeff N

    Jeff N The answer is 0042

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    Yup, they could have been a little more upfront about that one fire and their newly developed industry-first post-crash battery protocol.

    On the other hand, they had one mystery fire from one crash test (this side-impact pole test is new in 2011) that hadn't happened during any other crash tests by GM, NHTSA, EuroNCAP, or the insurance industry labs and they were unable to replicate the fire using the exact same test at NHTSA.

    The fire happened 3 weeks after the crash and so was not an immediate risk at a crash scene. No fires had occurred on actual customer vehicles. It's understandable that they would want to better understand the failure mode and risk level before unnecessarily frightening people with what could be a very small risk versus existing conventional and hybrid cars.

    I agree that a 5-6 month delay in public notification seems a bit leisurely but there may have been more behind the scenes investigation than we've heard about so far.
     
  20. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    When it became public, GM came out swing saying that NHTSA didn't follow the process to drain the power from the battery pack? There was no such procedure back in May.
     
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