• Feb 27th 2011 at 8:40AM
  • 9
Volvo C30 Electric smashes pole – Click above to watch video after the jump

At this year's Detroit Auto Show, the Volvo C30 Electric hit the stage sporting battle scars from a standard offset collision crash test. The damaged C30, though not the most eye-catching car on display, did prove an important point: electric cars can be safe.

Protecting the C30's massive battery pack from sustaining damage during an offset frontal impact is impressive. However, there are other tests – for example, hitting a 3,300-pound side impact barrier at 31 miles per hour – that could pose a significant risk to the vehicle's lithium-ion battery pack as well.

Wisely, Volvo engineers added side reinforcement and crumple zones to the C30 and installed the battery in the core of the vehicle. Like most any vehicle subjected to a test like this, the electric Volvo emerged from the side impact test with some damage, but its battery pack survived the ordeal unscathed. Hop the jump to see Jan Ivarsson, Volvo's senior manager for safety strategy and requirements, explain the results of the crash.

[Source: All Cars Electric, YouTube]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      "did prove an important point: electric cars can be safe."

      Was there ever a serious question of safety??

      Besides FUD?
        • 8 Months Ago
        Volvo has learned the lessons from the Pinto well. You need to protect the energy storage.

        If a collision is violent enough to rupture the fuel tank, or short the batteries. Despite the designers best efforts. Then the occupants no longer care.....
        • 8 Months Ago
        Very much so. Electrocution, leaking batteries/acid splash or fire are all potential disasters from a collision.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Derek Jones: "Electrocution, leaking batteries/acid splash or fire are all potential disasters from a collision"

        These are merely different hazards than a gas powered car. The problem is these articles make it sound like there is an assumption out there that electric cars have ADDITIONAL safety issues, not DIFFERENT safety issues.

        Gas cars have all the safety issues you mention for electrics except electrocution, but with EV's you don't risk spilling 20 gal of fuel everywhere.

        I agree with Joeviocoe, these articles are like back-handed compliments. See everyone, EV's *are* safe! You don't say, was anyone saying they were unsafe?
      • 8 Months Ago
      All Volvo tests are about checking whether the battery is damaged during the accident. Although it's very important information to know (that a normal traffic accident doesn't result in your battery exploding, burning you to death or electrocuting you), I'd still like to know what happens if the battery _is_ damaged. Even if unfortunate passengers of such car might be already dead, a violently burning battery may produce safety hazards to others.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Just like protecting a fuel tank ( a single spark during the rupture can create a large moltov cocktail out of it ), the same ideas apply to electric cars.

      No shock here. Pardon the pun ^_^
      • 8 Months Ago
      "Wisely, Volvo engineers added side reinforcement and crumple zones to the C30"

      That defeats the purpose of a crumple zone.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Cars from the 80's used to have a side crumple zone of 2 meters. Unfortunately the driver was sitting in the first 50 cm's of the crumple zone. That is why cars have become stiffer and heavier.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Perhaps Volvo is also concerned about the REPLACEMENT COST of the battery in an impact collision. These ENERDEL units which are Lithium may cost 8000+ per unit. That may be 1/3rd the cost of the vehicle. Your Insurance will automatically jump through the roof if there is a large chance that this part will be damaged in an accident. Volvo & Fiskar & Jaguar seen to be united in the development of the battery in the floorboard area. It appears to be easy to swap out & stations are being developed to do this for fleet use of some different cars.(Taxi's + municipal use vehicles) We know Volvo Engineering will get it right before they release this car to the public.
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