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Electric Car Batteries are a Fire Danger in Crashes

Posted on December 16, 2011 to

The National Safety Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) put consumers on alert about the lithium-ion batteries in certain hybrid vehicles. The warning comes after the battery in General Motors’s Chevrolet Volt started on fire after a crash test. A crash test earlier this year involving the Volt drew the NHTSA’s attention.

Six months ago, researchers subjected a Volt to a side-impact crash test in Wisconsin. Three weeks later, the battery burst into flames in a parking lot. The blaze was big enough that surrounding cars caught fire as well. Subsequent tests of the Volt’s battery resulted in sparks and high temperature readings. Luckily, there have been no reported injuries of battery fires in actual crashes involving the Chevy Volt.

While still considered a niche vehicle, only about 5,000 of the Volt model have sold. A spokesperson for the NTSA said that it is too early to tell if a product recall is necessary for the lithium-ion batteries. Representatives from General Motors said that testers failed to drain the battery’s energy after the crash, as recommended.

Defective automobiles and components are nothing to take lightly. Unfortunately, it usually takes a number of reported injuries and even deaths before manufacturers discover a defect.

Do you own a vehicle with a lithium-ion battery?

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