Chevy Volt Battery Fires Arouse Investigations

Chevy Volt in a side crash test, performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Chevy Volt in a side crash test, performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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Re: Fire hazzard
williamlweaver   12/1/2011 2:59:26 PM
Wow. I agree that there are lots of factors surrounding the investigation of possible battery fires. But GM willing to buy back Volts does little to dispel any fear that electric cars are unsafe.

"General Motors will buy Chevrolet Volts back from any owner who is afraid the electric cars will catch fire, the company's CEO said Thursday."


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Unfair! Journalistic ethics?
Technophile   12/1/2011 8:33:32 PM
The author writes "fires in which Chevy Volts were involved or nearby".  Then points out in the first two that the Volt was declared innocent.  Then titled the article "Chevy Volt Battery Fires Arouse Investigations" -- note use of the plural "Battery Fires".  If the Volts are known not to have caused the fires in the first two incidents, why bring those incidents up under the title "Battery Fires"?  It seems unfair to the Volt and likely to give an inaccurate impression of guilt.  You could just as (un)fairly list the nearby pavement, the Earth, the atmosphere (which WAS involved in the fires), buildings, drivers, men named Fred, etc. 

I'd like to see more care taken with product reputations.

For the record, I've never owned a Chevy or an EV and have no involvement with Chevrolet or any of its divisions.


Charles Murray
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Re: Fire hazzard
Charles Murray   12/1/2011 10:59:18 PM
Experts I've talked with suggest that the crash MIGHT have been the cause. The electrodes in lithium-ion batteries are so close together that a dent in the cell case could cause them to touch each other inside the cell, causing a short circuit. If this is the case, then a heavier battery case might be in order, as you suggest, Alex.

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Re: Unfair! Journalistic ethics?
Tool_maker   12/2/2011 6:50:32 AM
I agree with technophile about the inaccuracy of this article. I really do not think an EV will ever be anything other than a niche vehicle in my life time and have a multitude of reasons why they will not suit my lifestyle, but to focus on possible fires is ridiculous. As many posters have mentioned, we drive vehicles carrying an explosive liquid, but we should worry about a big battery. That is analogous to critcizing a politician for the size of his ears and ignoring the destructiveness of his policies.

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Volt battery problem not new
tfcsd   12/2/2011 10:33:01 PM
Didn't the T-1000 (Terminator) have the same problem when their power packs were damaged? The more power these batteries carry the more chances there is going to be when things are damaged.

Charles Murray
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Re: Volt battery problem not new
Charles Murray   12/14/2011 12:08:40 AM
I don't know how much energy T-1000 had in his batteries, but the Volt has about 16 kWh. In contrast, a 15-gallon gas tank has about 450 kWh.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: Fire hazzard
Jack Rupert, PE   12/16/2011 3:17:19 PM
I wonder, though, why it would be the Volt having these problems if the root cause has something to do with the lithium ion batteries.  In fact, I would think that the hybrids would then be the most dangerous since they throw gasoline into the mix.  In that case you would have the normal dangers of a gas power car, compounded with whatever is alledgedly setting of these fires.

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