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Chevy Volt Battery Catches Fire, Government Investigates General Motors' Electric Car

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posted on Nov, 26 2011 @ 05:57 PM
If an alternate forum is more suffice. Mods please move.


-WASHINGTON -- The government is investigating new fires involving the lithium-ion batteries in General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt to assess the fire risk in the electric car after a serious crash.-

I'll give them the benefit of the doubt
-So far, no fires have been reported in Volts involved in roadway crashes, NHTSA said. More than 5,000 of the vehicles have been sold.-

Not off to a good start
-NHTSA learned of a possible fire risk involving damaged Volt batteries when a fire erupted in a Volt that was being stored in a parking lot of a test facility in Burlington, Wis. The fire was severe enough to cause several other vehicles parked nearby to catch fire as well.-

-The first battery tested last week didn't catch fire. But a battery test on Nov. 17 initially experienced a temporary temperature increase, and on Thursday caught fire while being monitored. Another battery tested on Nov. 18, which was rotated 180 degrees within hours after the test, began to smoke and emit sparks shortly after the rotation.-

Although still doesn't sound good
-Incorrectly packaged, damaged or overheated batteries can catch fire, the FAA said. Fires involving lithium-ion batteries can reach 1,100 degrees, close to the melting point of aluminum, a key material in airplane construction. Lithium-metal battery fires are far hotter, capable of reaching 4,000 degrees.-

-Electric vehicles are critical to President Barack Obama's plans to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. He has called for putting 1 million of the vehicles on the road by 2015.-

So...what about foreign lithium?!
i'm happy for now after this news that they put Hydrogen powered vehicles on the back burner!

A couple more links:

This should help the sales and I bet this will make insurance price nice for the average driver!
edit on 26-11-2011 by Corruptedstructure because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 26 2011 @ 06:06 PM
The military has had the technology to make green renewable energy possible, efficient and cheap for decades!

posted on Nov, 26 2011 @ 06:10 PM
reply to post by WakeUpRiseUp

It really wouldn't surprise me!

Next will probably be the Nissan Leaf or Tesla S..

posted on Nov, 26 2011 @ 06:51 PM
O_O This reads almost like a plot right out of a Disney Car's movie. Oh wait...

posted on Nov, 26 2011 @ 07:15 PM
reply to post by Terrormaster

I guess that I would have to watch one to know.
I haven't been much into the computer animated Disney flicks.

posted on Nov, 26 2011 @ 09:16 PM
Ho car on fire after accindent happen all the time
when the persentage of electric car is more than gas car then then cry wolf

posted on Nov, 26 2011 @ 10:20 PM
As a volunteer firefighter we has to get special training on fires and after accident disarming of hybrid and electric cars.
Even regular cars have some dangerous parts that can hurt or kill someone during a fire.
non activated airbags. energy absorbing bumpers.

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 07:05 AM
reply to post by ANNED

When I worked for GM I had to have special training to work on them but it was for electric shock. I also remember my stepfather saying something about special training for the fire dept he runs. I didn't realize those batteries could burn so hot.

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 07:10 AM
You know, I heard this from someone who knew someone who worked in a research department for a major auto manufacturer, and he said... get this, but he said gasoline catches on fire.

Very surprising news, shocking, quite shocking.

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 08:14 AM
Hi all!
This is just the beginning of EV fires. We are going to see some sad things happen to EV owners involved in car crashes, not to mention how the increased weight of the EV will do more damage to the lighter cars.
I have been flying brush-less electric RC planes since the LiPo batteries have been commercially available.
I have seen 4 planes go up in flames after a minor crash, and two fires while charging.

I charge my batteries in a flowerpot filled with sand, under a sand filled balloon that will dump it's sand in the event of a fire.

Here are some unlucky enthusiast results:
Charging fire that could have burned down the house
Intentional overcharge
Here they poke a nail hole in a pack without a bad fire

Enter Lithium Ion Batteries
Laptop demo fire
For RC, and High performance automotive applications they use these A123 Cells.
These cells are slightly heavier than the LiPos, but they are lots safer, see this penetration test
Here you can see a small LiOn jump starting a car

With the added weight of an electric vehicle, and the high potential for fire, I think it would behoove the the EV owner to get out of the vehicle as soon as possible after a crash, but when they can't we will soon see minor accidents cause fires, then agonizing death of the occupants.

Water will not put these fires out.

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 08:18 AM
reply to post by Corruptedstructure

(from the linked blog:

The battery was determined to be the cause, after its coolant line was ruptured during the side-impact test. That led the NHTSA to consider a ruling forcing hybrid and electric-car batteries to be drained after a wreck.


whaa? the regulators will consider draining the battery coolant pan...and possibly even the batteries?

this seems to be focused on the costs to the insurers rather than the future safety of the drivers/passengers

protocols for repairs has to be developed...right now the buyers of these 'test' cars are human guinea pigs for the corporate puppet-masters...few established rules are outlined for determining how to get a accident--victim vehicle back on the road with a 100% guarantee of reliability from the factory.

sounds like the insurance companies will not pay to have a new battery assembly to replace in a vehicle that was in an accident to any degree.
bottom line, Drive at your own risk... as the report says a week or 3 weeks later a battery package can unexpectedly burst into flame from hidden problems/damage not recognized by the trained engineers...even at the testing grounds of GM.

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 08:28 AM
Now, addressing the original post about charging, Here is why this will happen over and over with this technology.

This is a vicious circle of keeping the cells balanced while charging and discharging

Heat will damage these cells. The Chevy Volt uses 220 Lithium Ion cells to produce a 16-kilowatt-hour battery.
With this many cells you will deal with them in smaller groups within the pack, however each cell will charge and discharge at slightly different rates. Eventually one cell will get weaker than the others due to heat or over-draining, then this cell will generate more heat while charging and discharging. While the weak cell is running less of the load, the others in that group will have to deal with the missing energy causing the amps to go up on those cells, causing more damage and heat. Once this starts, it just gets worse, so those EV's with older packs will be in the most danger.

posted on Nov, 27 2011 @ 08:32 AM
reply to post by St Udio

Just to clarify for ATS: They are suggesting draining the energy out, not the insides of the cells.

posted on Nov, 28 2011 @ 09:05 PM
Ha Ha, you gotta read this! Here is GM telling us how everything is going to be just fine:

In the included picture they state the battery weighs in at 435 lbs., and those don't look like A123 cells, they are the flat foil packs! (Danger! Danger! Post crash apocalypse!)

Cost of these cars, the added weight, and the fire potential should really help our insurance rates. Not to mention, they (insurance co.) will probably want to replace the pack after a crash.

Yup, It's all good!

BTW, I am as ready as anyone to get off fossil, and I see the potential for pollution reduction with technology. I just don't want to burn fossil to charge and run my green car. Plus, I see storage of these old (heavy metal laden) batteries as a new environmental disaster waiting to happen. We can have more lithium in our fish to go along with the mercury..yum

We could find ourselves wishing we had stayed with fuel and fire someday.

posted on Dec, 3 2011 @ 07:15 AM
I thought this might happen..

APNewsBreak: GM willing to buy back Volts [/headline

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