Chevy Volt Burns in Garage While Charging

Discussion in 'Chevrolet Volt' started by Ptero, Apr 16, 2011.

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What do you think burned the garage down?

  1. primarily a Chevy Volt flaw

    5 vote(s)
    17.2%
  2. primarily a recharger flaw

    4 vote(s)
    13.8%
  3. the garage wiring was bad - something else would have started the fire

    20 vote(s)
    69.0%
  1. Ptero

    Ptero Hydrogen Nut, Battery Skeptic

    I'm not so sure, Wayne.

    We may hear it was just a coincidence -- but with the government and GM betting so big on this, the actual truth may be revealed in a quiet recall (courtesy service).
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011
  2. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    Hi Ptero:

    As stated in other thread... I have been sitting on this story since it broke yesterday afternoon because we are not sure of the cause just yet. Give it another day or so and I am sure the facts will come out.

    Wayne
     
  3. Ptero

    Ptero Hydrogen Nut, Battery Skeptic

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    I'm no fan of the Chevy Volt. I didn't like the way it was rushed into production under government pressure. Compare the gradual success of the Prius to this catastrophe: one of the first Volts in Connecticut catches on fire and burns down an attached garage in the middle of the night while charging.

    http://www.wfsb.com/news/27541598/detail.html

    I'm in agreement with the president of Audi. He predicted that a few early adopters will buy Volts, then nobody else will.

    “No one is going to pay a $15,000 premium for a car that competes with a (Toyota) Corolla...They’re for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are...so there are not enough idiots who will buy it." He thinks the Volt will fall flat, and then the government will rush to its aid with generous subsidies so as to not look like a bunch of fools.

    See the CleanMPG thread Audi President Calls The Volt "A Car For Idiots"
    http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24747&page=2

    This incident doesn't help. And I suspect it won't be the last.

    And I found this comment on the story on the Free Republic blog. The author claims the burning Volt story will be swept under the rug.

    "The quality and safety concerns continue to surface at General Motors as officials investigate the likelihood that a Chevy Volt started a fire in a Connecticut home that devastated the garage where the vehicle was being charged. This story was reported by a local Eyewitness News team on Thursday and has not received widespread media coverage. This follows a GM recall of the Chevy Cruze that was necessitated after a steering wheel broke off of one of the vehicles traveling at highway speeds and endangered the family traveling in the car.... Regarding the Chevy Volt incident, I have yet to hear that GM or the Department of Transportation is starting their own investigation. One has to wonder how much attention these latest stories would get if we were talking about Toyota, which had previously been lambasted regarding perceived safety issues, instead of Government Motors. Supposedly, consumers are already willing to pay a premium for the Volt, why waste even more taxpayer money subsidizing a vehicle that travels about 30 miles on an electric charge and then gets only about 30 MPG running on premium fuel? More suspicious activity surrounding the Volt surfaces if you do a cars.com search for used vehicles. It seems that non-GM dealerships have been purchasing Volts and reselling them as used vehicles. Now why in the world is GM selling Volts to non-GM dealerships when there are claims that there are not enough of the cars available to meet retail demand"
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2705463/posts
     
  4. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    He might be right, but Audi's president is an idiot.. and even worse, a dishonest one.

    Its just generic GM bashing.. most of it justified but still bashing.

    'why waste even more taxpayer money subsidizing a vehicle that travels about 30 miles on an electric charge and then gets only about 30 MPG running on premium fuel?"

    many people are getting nearly 50 miles of range and the EPA rated the Volt at 40mpg on the hwy... city driving gets infinite mpg if you are a reasonable driver. You and I would do MUCH better.

    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/30980.shtml
     
  5. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    I will post a pic tonight of a charger installation. I can see why some would burn due to installation.
     
  6. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    I'd first look at the charger and its installation also before looking at the Volt as the cause.
     
  7. rfruth

    rfruth Well-Known Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    I heard it was the wiring that caused the blaze but it still makes for good GM bashing
     
  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    Hi Ptero:

    While we still do not yet know the cause, I will have to stand behind GM on this one when it comes to Audi of America President, Johan de Nysschen. Let us have a quick look at the numbers.

    Automobile Manufacturer's US Sales Rank - March 2011 vs. March 2010 and Totals
    Yet in Germany, VW is the number one brand and Ford/GM have tough inroads. I am not saying there is protectionism or favorites within the home country but for a car manufacturer the size of VW (number one in the world) that can barely make a dent in the US market because of overpriced, feature lacking and in most cases, lower quality cars, connecting the dots says something or someone is helping the home team in the home country?

    A few more points if I may… An Audi A3 TDI is one very small car yet when equipped similar to the Volt, NAVI package and telematics, it is in the mid-36K range OTD. The Volt is going to be in the $38K range OTD. I have driven both and the Volt would be in my drive long before the Audi A3 TDI would.

    Finally, VW/Audi/Porsche are ripping headlong into the electrified era as fast as they can and it is being done so as to catch up, not to lead.

    Now back to the point at hand. I am very much looking forward to the end report and I am surprised the Fire Inspector has not already released the cause if in fact he has not done so already. If it is egg on GM’s face, so be it but it is not like they have sold more than 1,500 cars in the four months since it has been available. The Volt is a marketing platform and engineering study, not an end user vehicle in the manner that the masses know of it today.

    Good Luck

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011
  9. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    Now for the REST of the story. Another car was in the garage. An 87 Suzuki Samuri that was converted t EV "several" years ago.

    Which one do you suspect? Not the Volt....
     
  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    Hi Mike:

    That was reported by the local News affiliate on the ground yesterday as well.

    Wayne
     
  11. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    I have a good friend who owns a repair facility specializing in German automobiles. I asked him about the different brands he works on and his opinions. When i asked him about Audi, he laughed. He said"i can easily put my three sons through college fixing Audis. They are the most unreliable cars on earth. 60% of my business is fixing Audis."
     
  12. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    I'd be tempted to go with Mike's info about the other vehicle in the garage first then, the garage wiring or the re-charger wiring/installation.
     
  13. sidfreak

    sidfreak Well-Known Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    The last person i knew that had thier car burn was my boss who bought a brand new a4. The rear seat heater didn't shut off for some reason and it burned in our parking lot at work. While i'm in agreement that the Volt might have some issues to work out b4 its really ready for widespread consumer sale, the prez of Audi should keep his nose out and handle his own business.

    They did quietly give him a new car and an appology, btw.
     
  14. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    How is this for "temporary" wiring for the Volt 220v charger? This is wired directly into a panel about 3' off the floor in a garage.

    Note the bare ground!

    What danger does this present?
     
  15. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    The Suzuki had been there happily for years, and then suddenly 2 months after the Volt appears... The Signs and Portents are suggesting a riled up gm basher with a molotov cocktail.. ohh I can feel the hatred. Probably a Rush and Palin supporter.
     
  16. Ptero

    Ptero Hydrogen Nut, Battery Skeptic

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    Wayne: "The Volt is a marketing platform and engineering study, not an end user vehicle in the manner that the masses know of it today."

    Ptero: The Volt is a terrible example of design-by-politicians. GM had looked at electrical vehicles for years and come to the conclusion that they could not be profitable with the present level of battery technology. Even the Prius was introduced at a loss and was sold for a couple of years in the red until Toyota claimed the Prius finally turned a profit (which I doubt). So GM was not going to produce the Volt. It was an engineering study.

    The Volt actually was, in fact, originally an engineering study for a fuel cell vehicle. GM had established an ambitious fuel cell production facility in New York with plans to meet the hybrid challenge head-on.

    [​IMG]

    GM researchers had dropped the size of the 400-cell Chevy Equinox fuel cell engine to less than half the size without giving up any of the 93 kW it produced. GM was targeting 2010 for this fuel cell to reduce the amount of platinum to less than that of a catalytic converter using nano-deposition technology.

    But then the Republicans sold out America to international corporations and Detroit collapsed, and then the voters brought in this sycophantic, double-speaking lap dog of the big banks, big oil and big law with his hand-picked nucular industry stooge Chu. The first thing this pair did when they took over GM was to have them close down their fuel cell strategy -- a world beating, American know-how strategy already well underway -- and revert the fuel cell chassis design to batteries.

    Now, a lot of the small minds in this country think this is American know-how: to take Chinese laptop batteries and stick them in a big car with a cloned Jap engine, cook the books and subsidize it by stealing $7,500 from the taxpayers for each one sold, then rave about its "huge" 30-mile range on electricity and drool over the 30 mpg it gets hauling those batteries around when they're discharged. But it's not American know-how. It's throwing in the towel. It's giving up. It's laying down. It makes me ashamed.

    We aren't going to compete with Asia with the Volt. It represents the new dead end of American technology.
     
  17. Ptero

    Ptero Hydrogen Nut, Battery Skeptic

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    Wayne: "Finally, VW/Audi/Porsche are ripping headlong into the electrified era as fast as they can and it is being done so as to catch up, not to lead."

    Ptero: Actually, VW has been working on electrified drive trains as long as anyone. All the hybrid platforms entering production from established manufacturers were developed or borrowed from fuel cell vehicle research.
    USA: Volkswagen Unveils Its First Fuel-Cell Car At the Grand Opening of the California Fuel Cell Partnership

    Press Release | 2 November 2000

    Volkswagen's Bora HyMotion - a new drive concept

    Volkswagen, a leader in the development of environmentally friendly technologies in Europe and across the globe, showed the world its first fuel-cell car during the opening of the California Fuel Cell Partnership Headquarters in Sacramento, Calif.

    Volkswagen calls the car the Bora HyMotion, which is designed as a genuine "zero emission vehicle." The Bora model is known as the Jetta in the U.S., the top-selling European nameplate.

    The HyMotion's engine uses an advanced fuel cell that transforms hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy for the electric motor. The only by-product from this process is water vapor.

    In the HyMotion, the fuel cell's engine works at the core of the car's drive system, which allows it to run at a higher degree of efficiency than that of a typical combustion engine. Further, with this fuel cell system, the most efficient operation is realized at mid throttle, which is the throttle range used the most during driving.

    The Bora HyMotion tank has a capacity of 50 litres of liquid hydrogen at minus 253 degrees Celsius. This is an energy equal to 12 litres of petrol covering a range of about 350 kilometres. The electric motor operates quietly, without vibration and ensures a pleasant and relaxed drive. The asynchronous electric motor has a power output of 75 kW and with 240 Nm of torque in a large revving range, the Bora accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 12.6 seconds reaching a top speed of 140 km/h.

    The unveiling of this prototype comes in conjunction with the celebration of the grand opening of the headquarters for the historic California Fuel Cell Partnership, which was formed in April 1999 to pave the way for demonstrating fuel cell vehicles. Private companies and public agencies formed the California Fuel Cell Partnership to help advance this technology that promises practical, affordable, and environmentally friendly transportation solutions for California and the world.

    The Partnership includes auto manufacturers (DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, and soon GM and Toyota), energy providers (BP, Shell, Texaco), fuel cell companies (Ballard Power Systems and International Fuel Cells), and government agencies (the California Air Resources Board, California Energy Commission, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Transportation, and the South Coast Air Quality Management District).

    Volkswagen has been a member of the "Fuel Cell Partnership" since October 1999.

    As one of the world leaders in helping make the car industry an environmentally responsible one, Volkswagen is excited to be a part of this historic consortium. With the debut of its HyMotion prototype, Volkswagen hopes to further demonstrate its commitment to the Fuel Cell Partnership and making fuel-cell vehicles a reality and a success.
     
  18. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    Hi Ptero:

    When did you think that FCV's died? Every major has their feet deep into that water because it is only infrastructure away from working at a cost that makes sense. And GM is at the top of that heap with Toyota, Ford and Honda in making it happen.

    While the Volt is a dog and pony show due to sales numbers, it is doing exactly what it was intended for. Create a Green Buzz (it has) and place GM at the peak of engineering prowess with the first and only PHEV on the market today.

    Wayne
     
  19. Ptero

    Ptero Hydrogen Nut, Battery Skeptic

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    Wayne: "When did you think that FCV's died?"


    Ptero: Fuel cell cars will not happen without government support of a national hydrogen fueling infrastructure. With the anti-science Republicans owned by Big Oil, there was little progress made under Bush. It was then a great shock to the U.S. fuel cell industry when nuclear industry stooge Energy Secretary Chu announced he was canceling the domestic automotive fuel cell research and testing programs and continuing support only for stationary fuel cell system research. Only the outrage from the green scientific community kept the Congressional funding mostly intact for the first two years of the Obama administration, but now industry support in the U.S. is drying up and America's spin-off hydrogen tech companies continue to be snapped up by overseas interests, making 20 years of taxpayer-supported fuel cell research a gift to foreign countries like Germany and Norway who are enlightened enough to begin building a serious hydrogen fueling infrastructure based on renewable energy.


    Fuel-Cell Backers Criticize DOE Budget Cuts
    By AutoObserver Staff February 22, 2011


    President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget boosts Department of Energy spending, especially for electric vehicles, while it drastically cuts hydrogen and fuel-cell research, to the dismay of backers of those technologies. President Obama's proposed fiscal year 2012 budget raises Department of Energy funding to $29.5 billion, a nearly 12-percent increase from the current 2010 fiscal year level of $26.4 billion, and it includes $588 million to stimulate sales of one million electric vehicles by 2015. It also - despite the overall hike and the nod to EVs in general - cuts deeply the DOE's funding for research and development of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, work that could help to build a future market for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).


    A similar effort last year by Energy Secretary Steven Chu to slash automotive fuel cell research in his 2010 budget proposal was reversed in Congress – but with budget-cutting Republicans in control of the House of Representatives this year, that's not as likely an outcome. For fiscal year 2012, the proposed DOE budget devotes $100 million to hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, 41 percent less than the $170 million budgeted for fiscal year 2010. It also eliminates funding of the Solid State Exchange Conversion Alliance (SECA), a DOE-managed program to develop solid oxide fuel cells that would be used as range-extending auxiliary power units in electric trucks.
    While the brunt of the cuts would not be felt for a while, there is an immediate effect: raising the ire of fuel cell and hydrogen energy proponents at their annual national conference, which opened last Monday just as the figures were made public and concluded on Wednesday.


    "We have hundreds of fuel cell electric vehicles on the roads, and more hydrogen refueling stations in the state of California alone than in the entire rest of the world," said Ruth Cox, president and executive director of the Fuel Cell Hydrogen Energy Association, in her opening remarks. Despite that, she continued, "America's leadership in fuel cells and hydrogen energy is in jeopardy, because although we have a President who is committed to creating a clean energy economy, his administration has been misguided about the critical role fuel cells and hydrogen energy have to play in its realization." [more]
     
  20. Ptero

    Ptero Hydrogen Nut, Battery Skeptic

    Re: Chevy Volt Burns Down Garage While Charging

    Wayne: "[The Volt] is doing exactly what it was intended for. Create a Green Buzz (it has) and place GM at the peak of engineering prowess with the first and only Phev on the market today."

    Ptero: "Engineering prowess"???? I can't believe you said that. You have to be aware that several boutique shops have been modding Priuses into PHEVs for years and that Toyota made a business decision against PHEVs although they could easily have put them into production. Why? Because the battery packs would have to be doubled in size and cost, and since they were running in the red or close to it already, it made no economic sense to put PHEVs into production. Worse, sophisticated HEVs like the Prius and Insight were designed to treat battery packs gently. Poorly engineered PHEVs, particularly either/or types like the Volt, were the hybrid industry's nightmare because they are nothing but golf carts on steroids, inefficiently lugging around heavy engines and oversize battery packs that stress the recharging ability of the insufficient grid infrastructure.

    Remember, battery packs are a two-edged sword. It costs a lot to put them into production, then the manufacturers take a second hit down the road by replacing them to keep the early adopters happy. When battery tech is marketed aggressively and performance is emphasized, as with the Tesla and Volt, the life of the packs falls off rapidly. If you think sales of the Volt are bad now, wait until the early adopters start getting decreased range with electric drive. I predict we'll see the government sponsor mass battery pack replacements by GM to the tune of $10,000 or more apiece.

    This brings up another flaw in this wishful-thinking, government-forced PHEV catastrophe. Physical limits to improvements in battery efficiency were widely recognized in the scientific community as the Obama administration came into power. By this I mean fundamental barriers in physics, which were resulting in greater costs and complexity yielding smaller and smaller gains in performance and longevity. So what does this Chu do? He issues directives to the national labs to forge ahead with battery research, while at the same time canceling the fuel cell programs that were demonstrating efficiency gains that were essentially doubling every year. It was incredibly short-sighted, counterproductive and stupid. Now you get glowing press releases promising better batteries but you'll never see them in production because they cannot be profitably mass-produced. The whole program is a fraud.
     

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