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Posts Tagged ‘lithium-ion fires’

Tesla Fire Gives Chills to Investors

Debris blamed for battery fire that seriously damages Model S.

by on Oct.03, 2013

A video on YouTube showed the fire that consumed the front end of a Model S, apparently after roadway debris damaged the battery pack.

Roadway debris is tentatively catching the blame for a fire that seriously damaged a Tesla Model S being driven in a Seattle suburb – with that news, combined with new concerns about the battery-carmaker’s high-flying stock sending the price of shares plunging by more than 6%.

The fire itself raised serious concerns about the safety of not just the Tesla Model S, but about the use of lithium-ion batteries in general. There have been problems with other vehicles using the technology, while Boeing was forced to ground its new 787 Dreamliner earlier this year because of fires involving the jet’s first-of-its-king lithium battery system.

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According to a report by Washington State Police, a motorist was driving a Tesla Model S equipped with the company longest-range, 85 kilowatt-hour battery. After apparently striking some metallic debris on the road, the owner began to smell smoke, police were later told, parked the vehicle and exited.  The vehicle reportedly then caught fire.


Chevy Sees No Impact on Volt Sales from Battery Lab Explosion

Fuel price surge actually a plus for sales, maker believes.

by on Apr.16, 2012

Chevy marketing chief Chris Perry introducing the 2013 Impala at the NY Auto Show.

An explosion at the General Motors battery lab is unlikely to have any impact on the newfound sales momentum of the Chevrolet Volt, contended the brand’s marketing chief.

The maker certainly has to hope so, considering the brief setback in sales that followed word of several fires involving Volt batteries following federal crash tests last year.  Demand for the plug-in hybrid slumped sharply during the first two months of this year – though sales rebounded in March as U.S. fuel prices soared towards record levels.

“They weren’t even testing a Volt battery,” said Chris Perry, vice president of global marketing for Chevrolet, during an appearance at a charity event in Detroit.

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GM appeared to have turned the corner with Volt in March when sales rose to 50% more than their previous peak due to a push to fill the pipeline to dealers across the country.  But last week’s explosion, which injured six employees – sending one to the hospital – has once again raised issues about
the dangers inherent in lithium-ion batteries.


Potential Buyers Steering Clear of Volt as House Schedules Probe

GM reportedly may have fix for fire problem.

by on Dec.07, 2011

The Chevrolet Volt, shown here with its lithium-ion battery pack.

Potential buyers seem to be steering clear of the Chevrolet Volt in the wake of reports that the plug-in hybrid experienced several fires following federal crash tests – which could pose a serious problem for General Motors as it prepares for a sharp ramp-up in production for 2012.

Meanwhile, a House panel has scheduled a hearing next month to look into the safety of the Chevy Volt – and the way the Obama Administration has handled the investigation so far.  The nation’s top transportation official, despite three fires involving the Volt after testing, has declared the plug-in “safe to drive.”

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Separately, GM is reportedly studying changes to the Volt’s battery pack to prevent the possibility of fire after a crash.  Such a fix could be announced in a matter of weeks, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The crisis began last month when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first reported that a Volt it had subjected to a side-impact crash test in May caught fire three weeks later.  Another series of tests last month resulted in a second fire, with a third battery sputtering and smoking.