When the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf go on sale late this year, they will be just the first of a wave of new battery powered vehicles that will hit the streets over the next several years. Undoubtedly it won't be long after those cars hit the streets before some of them are involved in accidents. While previous electric vehicles have never been offered in any significant numbers, these vehicles are expected to be sold in volume, so Chevrolet and OnStar want emergency personnel to be prepared.
General Motors is announcing that it will sponsor a series of special training events for first responders over the next several months to ensure that everyone understands the unique features of the Volt. From the powertrain perspective, the Volt won't be treated that differently from current hybrids as the battery voltage is not that much higher (366 volts vs 270-300 volts for most hybrids). Dealing with the high-strength steel body structure may actually be the most challenging aspect for firefighters trying to rescue occupants.
The first of this series of training sessions will take place in Chicago in August IAFC's Fire-Rescue International Conference. This will be followed by other events in the initial retail markets for the Volt in California, Michigan and Washington DC.