• Apr 18, 2011
While some have been quick to point fingers at the 2011 Chevrolet Volt involved in two separate incidents at the Barkhamsted, CT home of Storm and Dee Connors, General Motors has updated its earlier statement to improve the clarity of the situation. "While the Volt's battery pack sustained damage," says General Motors Global Electric Vehicle Executive Doug Parks, "it was not extensive enough or of the type that would suggest that it caused the fire."

GM experts are working with fire officials in the small town in the Northwest corner of Connecticut to help determine the cause of the blaze that also destroyed a home-built Suzuki Samurai EV that Storm Connors had been chronicling on a blog. General Motors is confident that the engineering and systems in the Chevrolet Volt provide exceptional safety, and the vehicle's involvement in this situation is one of circumstance, merely a damaged vehicle due to its parking spot, and not the root cause of the fire. Full statement posted after the jump.

[Source: General Motors]
Show full PR text
Our engineering experts have inspected the Chevrolet Volt severely damaged in a garage fire in Barkhamsted, CT. We believe the findings indicate the Volt was damaged by the fire, not the cause.

The garage and its contents, including the Volt and a hand-built Suzuki Samurai EV, were heavily damaged in last Thursday's fire.

While the Volt's battery pack sustained damage, it was not extensive enough or of the type that would suggest that it caused the fire. In addition, there is clear evidence based on moderate damage to the cordset and charging system that neither component caused the fire.

The vehicles had been left in the garage for investigators and insurers to review when a second incident occurred earlier today. Smoke was seen coming from the damaged Volt and the fire department responded quickly. We continue to support the department in its investigation, sending our experts back to Connecticut to continue working with fire marshals.

We've spent more than a decade developing the technology which went into Volt. As such, it has a wide range of active and passive safety systems to ensure our customers are protected.

The most important thing to remember is that everyone is safe and fire investigators are working diligently to determine the cause. We'll share more information as it becomes available.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 32 Comments
      budwsr25
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would like to know what started the second fire. Something just isn't right.
        Dest
        • 3 Years Ago
        @budwsr25
        Well there was a comment in the other article about how it's supposedly common sense that lithium batteries can spontaneously re-igniite a week later if damaged lol
          erjhe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dest
          I couldn't find any conclusive information on what type of lithium-ion battery the Volt uses, but some lithium batteries do combust if the internals are exposed to air. There's some pretty interesting videos on youtube of some... I'll just say brave people who have ruptured old lithium batteries and documented the footage. However, on another note, if a fail safe was not triggered and there was still any electrical power being distributed from the cell, the car's electrical harness or components can be a source of ignition. With a battery the size the Volt uses, there is a lot of energy that can potentially be discharged and create a great deal of heat. However, I have no doubt that the engineers behind the Volt though of scenarios like this and implemented fail safes to prevent it from happening. However, that is not to say that all fail safes are failure proof.
      Feel the Heat
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Obama Admin. cannot afford for the Volt to be determined as the cause. GM, GE, Obama, UAW all stakes holders in its success. Keep an eye on this investigation with GM's need to cover up it if the Volt caught fire.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Feel the Heat
        [blocked]
      Hokiegrad09
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm putting my money on the homemade electric car.
      Pat
      • 3 Years Ago
      I just read on the Samurai owner's blog from Sep 10, 2010 (get to the 2nd paragraph) "I had to send a 24V module out for replacement by the vendor. This means I have a 132V pack and a charger that has 144 and 156V settings. How to charge? I decided to try a "bad boy" charger. A bridge rectifier is connected to the 120V AC with the battery pack connected to the + and - of the rectifier. This bridge rectifier is about an inch square and consists of 4 diodes connected such that the AC is converted to DC. It works out to about 160V of pulsating DC. It can be used to charge batteries from 96V up to about 144V. 144V won't fully charge. This is certainly not a recommended safe practice." My money is on something that he was doing to the Suzuki as the main culprit!
      Sukairain
      • 3 Years Ago
      "While the Volt's battery pack sustained damage," says General Motors Global Electric Vehicle Executive Doug Parks, "it was not extensive enough or of the type that would suggest that it caused the fire." So if the 'battery pack' did not cause the fire, is it possible a leaky fuel line connecting the gasoline motor on board the so-called 'Electric Vehicle" started the fire? No one is shocked when a gasoline powered vehicle catches fire, so why gasp at the Volt? It's a hybrid with a gasoline motor (generator), not an EV with no gas tank or exhaust.
        Sukairain
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Sukairain
        http://stormselectric.blogspot.com/ btw: This is the owner's own blog. Interesting read under the 'Charging' section. "These batteries put out a lot of heat toward the end of charge. Discharge doesn't seem to produce as much. I planned to modify an indoor/outdoor thermometer to handle 2 remote sensors, but I seem to have destroyed it. I got a unit with a wireless connection which works well for monitoring one box. Serendipitously, I can monitor the temperature from inside the house while she charges in the garage. ...... I have driven it on several trips, one over 15 miles, and it is working well. I keep a wary eye on the thermometers, but they have stayed under 90. Charging is another matter. My charger is programmed for lead acid. It doesn't want to turn off! I am hoping that when the cooling system is operational all will be well. Until then, I have to watch the heat buildup very carefully. I pull the plug on the charger until they cool down. " hmmmmmmm~
        Biggs
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Sukairain
        Don't think you understand the Volt, go be uneducated somewhere else.
      Switch
      • 3 Years Ago
      Surrrree it did't have anything to do with the volt... Its like a 458 but with no performance
        Tetratron
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Switch
        As has pointed out several times here in this very comment section, the first fire most likely had nothing to do with the Volt, however the first fire could have been what had contributed to the second fire. Either way, you look fantastically dumb with your jump to conclusions style of comments (this goes for everyone who loves to jump on the "hate a specific car company/car because it's cool bandwagon). Oh, and maybe it's not a 458 (lord knows I want one), but it's not a slouch either. Queue someone mentioning tarp, Obama, Government Motors, etc in 5, 4, 3, 2...
      Glenn Thomas Manser
      • 3 Years Ago
      It must've been OPEC behind this! They probably used highly volatile thermite JUST like the terrorists in the TWO TOWERS! ... When will people learn that scooters get 100mpg and don't cost $40k?
        SwiftWing
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Glenn Thomas Manser
        Oh, they'll probably figure that out when they figure out that they don't want to travel safely, or get from point A to point B with more than a backpack's worth of stuff, or be able to go someplace when it's raining, snowing, etc. Yeah, maybe then.
      Brett A MacPherson
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chevy Volt with years of research and millions (billions?) invested.... or a home-built EV. Errr.... yeah.
      kekelila
      • 3 Years Ago
      what happend?
      Stuka87
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am thinking it was a wiring fault in the garage that caused the issue. The "second" fire that was reported could have been caused by a battery letting lose as a result of the original fire.
        Stuka87
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Stuka87
        arg, lose should be loose. My kingdom (such as it were) for an edit button!
      vgombassi
      • 3 Years Ago
      After GM greases old Storm and the Fire inspector enough they will pin down the cause of the fire was Geo. Bushs fault. Did you happen to read the news story that Obama & the democrats want to dump GM storck held by the tax payers before the 2012 election cycle really heats up and is willing take an 11 billion lost just so it won't be an issue. LOL they can try to run away be they can't hide from this.
      BDolman
      • 3 Years Ago
      lame exuses and crappy quality, thats GM for you
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