Skip to comments.Stop! Donít Cut that Wire! Thatís a Chevy Volt!
Posted on 03/21/2012 4:43:25 AM PDT by Kaslin
Grab the Cat scene from the movie Lethal Weapon 3 is being played out in training rooms across America thanks to a generous $4.4 million grant from the Department of Energy.
If youre not familiar with the scene, first responders, Detectives Riggs and Murtaugh, are trying to disarm a car bomb, while a cat plays nearby. Riggs doesnt know which wire to snip, so he just snips one at random. As he watches the bombs timer begin to hyper-accelerate, he realizes that hes cut the wrong wire. He casually says to his partner Roger Murtaugh, Hey, Rog?
Yeah, says Murtaugh.
Grab the cat.
The men and the cat escape in the nick of time.
Well that scene, minus the explosion, is just another of the unintended benefits brought to us by the award-winning designers of the Chevy Volt.
Unlike old-fashioned lead acid batteries, the Chevy Volt lithium battery contains enough of a punch that it can kill you- and anyone else who is not grounded- if first responders cut the wrong wires or even the right ones, as Stephen Smoot reminded us last week on Townhall.
After taking us through the procedure first responders are suppsoed to use to cut the wires, Smoot writes:
"General Motors also warns that 'cutting these cables can result in serious injury or death.'"
Don't cut that wire! No, it's not a North Korean nuke. It's more dangerous: It's the power train of the Chevy Volt
Nothing like making first responders jobs more hazardous. Give that car an award for design innovation!
Besides attending to and rescuing the injured, first responders must now be aware of the potential hazards the new alternative-fuel technology may pose, says Energybooms transportation correspondent Jace Shoemaker. In order to keep both passengers and rescue crews safe, first responders must be aware of the potential for electrical shock, dangers of unintended vehicle movement, the challenges of charging stations and fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, which is sponsoring training for first responders through the Department of Energy grant, Training programs will help first responders ascertain whether the car is disabled or not, provide information about how to power down vehicles, demonstrate how to safely disconnect the high-voltage system, and show safe cut points for extrication.
Before I even get in a vehicle, I always try to identify the safe cut points for extrication. My family and I make a game of it on the way to Grandmas.
Anyone who can guess the safe cut points for extrication gets to sit near one! I say.
Hurray, Im going to live assuming I dont get electrocuted or crushed by unintended vehicle movement or burn up in a lithium-coolant fire, says the winner.
In response, General Motors- after a year of sales- is considering ways to allow first responders to discharge the battery so they can have a safe working environment.
The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.
Good thing they didn’t use CFL lamps for light sources inside the Volt.
This high voltage hazard poses the same problem for first responders with hybrid cars like the Prius. I have often wondered about the consequences of an electric or hybrid car involved in an accident where the battery itself is ruptured. I presume the contents of the battery would constitute a hazardous material spill and require a response by a trained HazMat team.
Well, even if it doesn’t do something catastrophic to the Volt batteries, let’s just hope there’s not a “legacy” car spilling fuel underneath it.
I wonder if Al Qada or any other Islamic terrorist group has seen the possibilities of turning these Volts into car bombs.
I have seen up close and first hand as I still have the scars of what happens when just one diesel truck battery explodes.
The car has how many high output batteries?
Take them and wire in some heavy duty cross wire connections to create a timed massive short bypassing any fusible links or circuit breakers, no explosives needed.
But let’s just write the tests for firefighters so that 98% of everyone can pass, okay?
Because it’s not like they’ll ever have to use their brains - they just point hoses at stuff.
Not to defend gubmit motors....but the same thing applies to ALL Hybrids. The Prius is a rolling disaster as well. Toyota issued a guide book to all first responders when it came out detailing all the disasters that awaited within.
This problem was actually far worse in the Honda Insight - the first road-able hybrid in the US. They were sold, but no one asked how rescue personnel were to handle them.
Honda got off the hook pretty easily - But after that, these “Electric” cars had to have some sort of rescue concession. When new models come out, the Highway Safety Commission releases diagrams of the layouts to Fire Department (If you have to pick a single first-responder, go with the fire department).
After this, a standard was developed. There is a “V” shape that can be cut as a good gamble if you don’t have the exact model memorized. The Honda CRZ and the Volt follow this standard.
This article is kinda sensational, IMO.
even if it doesnt do something catastrophic to the Volt batteries, lets just hope theres not a legacy car spilling fuel underneath it...
Let's make sure that does NOT happen... we'll mandate that ALL cars be electric.
George Will once did a column on what an ecological disaster the Prius is. Once one considers how many exotic materials go into a Prius and how much energy is wasted mining and refining and then disposing of those materials at the end of the cars life, the Prius is less Eco-friendly than an Escalade
You would think they could have designed it with a simple circuit breaker in it to cut off all electrical output.
Sledge Hammer defusing a nuclear bomb
When a conventional lead/acid batter explodes, it's generally due to a buildup of hydrogen gas generated by the battery. I'm pretty sure that these "modern" batteries don't produce these gasses.
On the bright side, there aren’t many of these “Volt” cars on the roads. See? It’s a safety feature.
There is a lot more energy in a tank full of gasoline.