NHTSA Investigating Post-Crash Fire Risk in Chevy Volts - BodyShop Business

NHTSA Investigating Post-Crash Fire Risk in Chevy Volts

The agency became concerned after a Volt it crash-tested caught fire three weeks later.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will be opening a formal safety defect investigation to assess the risk of fire in Chevy Volts that have been involved in a serious crash. The agency became concerned after a Volt it crash-tested caught fire three weeks later.

NHTSA says it isn’t aware of any roadway crashes that have resulted in battery-related fires in Chevy Volts or other vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries, but the agency is concerned there is potential for post-crash fires because recent tests on the Volt’s batteries resulted in fires. NHTSA says its tests are explicitly designed to replicate real-world crash scenarios.

Background

NHTSA says that this past May, it performed a side-collision crash test on a Volt, damaging the battery and rupturing the coolant line. When a fire involving the test vehicle occurred more than three weeks after it was crashed, the agency concluded that the damage to the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery during the crash test led to the fire.

NHTSA says the fire incident spurred the agency to work with the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Defense (DOD) to research the potential for fire in crashed electric vehicles. The agency also worked with GM to complete "rigorous tests" of the Volt’s lithium-ion batteries.

In an effort to recreate the May test, NHTSA recently conducted three tests on the Volt’s lithium-ion battery packs that intentionally damaged the battery compartment and ruptured the vehicle’s coolant line. Following a test on Nov. 16 that did not result in a fire, a temporary increase in temperature was recorded in a test on Nov. 17. During the test conducted on Nov. 18 using similar protocols, the battery pack was rotated within hours after it was impacted and began to smoke and emit sparks shortly after rotation to 180 degrees, and NHTSA is continuing to analyze the incident.

On Nov. 24, the battery pack that was tested on Nov. 17 caught fire at the testing facility. The agency is currently working with DOE, DOD and GM to assess the cause and implications of the fire. In each of the battery tests conducted in the past two weeks, the Volt’s battery was impacted and rotated to simulate a real-world, side-impact collision into a narrow object such as a tree or a pole followed by a rollover.

No Recalls Yet

Though NHTSA says it’s too soon to tell whether the investigation will lead to a recall of any vehicles or parts, if the agency identifies an unreasonable risk to safety, it will take immediate action to notify consumers and ensure that GM communicates with current vehicle owners.

In the meantime, the agency says it’s continuing to work with all vehicle manufacturers to ensure they have appropriate post-crash protocols; asking automakers who currently have electric vehicles on the market or plan to introduce electric vehicles in the near future to provide guidance for discharging and handling their batteries along with any information they have for managing fire risks; and engaging the Department of Energy and the National Fire Protection Association to help inform the emergency response community of the potential for post-crash fires in electric vehicles.


More information:

NHTSA

You May Also Like

Cruise Postpones Release of Driverless Taxi Service

Cruise, a GM subsidiary, recently announced that it will miss its goal of launching a large-scale self-driving taxi service in 2019.

Cruise, a GM subsidiary, recently announced that it will miss its goal of launching a large-scale self-driving taxi service in 2019. Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said the company plans to dramatically increase the number of its autonomous test vehicles on the road in San Francisco, but will not be offering rides to regular people this year, according to an article from The Verge.

Cutting Edge Automotive Solutions Partners with Andretti Rallycross

Andretti Rallycross announced that Cutting Edge Automotive Solutions will serve as technical partner on Cabot Bigham’s No. 02 OINK Clothing Beetle for the remainder of the 2019 Americas Rallycross season, showcasing their SP Tools USA brand.

Ford, Volkswagen Expand Collaboration to Include Autonomous, Electric Vehicles

Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG announced they are expanding their global alliance to include electric vehicles – and will collaborate with Argo AI to introduce autonomous vehicle technology in the U.S. and Europe.

CCAR Updates Website with More OSHA Alliance Resources

CCAR (Coordinating Committee For Automotive Repair) has announced the addition of new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Alliance content on its main website, www.ccar-greenlink.org.

CARSTAR McLaren Lake Forest and CARSTAR McLaren Irvine Open in California

Owned by husband-and-wife team James and Mary Davis, CARSTAR McLaren Lake Forest and CARSTAR McLaren Irvine are a family business.

Other Posts

CIECA to Offer Webinar on What Businesses Need to Know to Implement CIECA Standards

CIECA will hold its next CIECAst webinar, “Implementing CIECA Standards: Implementation Guide and Appendix C – BMS, Code Lists and Shema Components,” on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018 at 11 a.m. CST.

CARSTAR Urges Customers to Stay Winter Ready

Cold weather can create some of the harshest driving conditions of the year. The months between October and February top the list for accidents, vehicle damage and injuries.

CIECA Adds Broadly as Corporate Member

The Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) announced that Broadly has joined CIECA as a corporate member.

NABR Launches BillableGenie Online Searchable Database of Insurer-Paid Not-Included Procedures

National AutoBody Research (NABR) has announced the launch of its BillableGenie online service, an independent, centralized source of actual data on insurer paid not-included procedures and operations, labor rates, labor rate concessions and other manually entered estimate line items.