WASHINGTON (AP) — New fires involving the lithium-ion batteries in General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt have prompted an investigation to assess the risk of fire in the electric car after a serious crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday. One Volt battery pack that was being closely monitored following a government crash test caught fire Thursday, the safety administration said in a statement. Another recently crash-tested battery emitted smoke and sparks, the statement said.
GM, which was informed of the investigation on Friday, said in a statement that the Volt “is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash.” The latest fires are in addition to a battery fire in a crash-tested Volt six months ago. 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 car had been subjected to a side-impact crash test more than three weeks earlier, on May 12, during which the battery was punctured and its coolant line ruptured. Last week’s tests of three battery packs were designed to replicate the May test. In that test, the Volt was subjected to a simulated side-impact collision into a narrow object like a tree or pole followed by a rollover, the agency said.
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.
Some people think being a firefighter is pretty simple stuff. After all you just squirt the water on the fire and that’s that. If only. The truth is we live in a rapidly changing society where nothing stays as it is for long any more. Take this story about “green” cars. The Chevy Volt is just the latest attempt by the liberals in government to have us all buy into their global warming / climate change scheme. Problem is they catch fire when you crash them and generally perform dismally compared to their internal combustion powered counterparts. Plus they are more expensive and leave behind millions of tons of batteries that will have to be recycled.
As a firefighter they present a whole different set of problems for me and my crew, a whole new body of knowledge that must be trained up on and mastered. First they are generally made of plastic. That means more serious injuries when they wreck. And second (this is a biggie) they are ELECTRIC. That means we can’t put water on them very easily. So when your trapped in your Volt or Prius after a wreck and it’s melting around you I have to figure out a way to put out the fire without ELECTROCUTING you or my guys. Pretty simple stuff.
Since there is no standard design each electric car is an unknown quantity. You have to be very careful cutting into them due to energized electrical cables that could also electrocute you or a trapped victim. Since the Nutter administration has DECIMATED the fire departments budget there is no money for training anymore. That means we won’t have the training needed to deal with this hazard any time soon. Now if President Obama gets his wish to have 1 MILLION electric cars on the road by 2015 we are in serious trouble and the public’s at great risk.
This isn’t the only example of “green” technology being fielded without consideration of the safety hazards involved. Solar panels are another serious hazard. So much so that we will not operate on roofs with them installed. There is simply no way to de-energize them in an emergency and again there is a substantial risk of electrocution.
At the heart of this issue is an overreaching government meddling in the private sector in order to implement its political / social agenda. By propping up electric cars that no one wants with tax payer dollars, by subsidizing solar panel companies that can’t turn a profit, by restricting fossil fuel production the left is coddling countries that want to see us destroyed, holding up real American innovation, delaying technology that actually works from being perfected and making the world even more unsafe for firefighters.
Hope / Change. Save the whales.