Electric cars are growing in popularity in the San Diego area and throughout
California. While the new technology is certainly good for the environment, as
San Diego product liability attorneys, we are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety risks of these vehicles.
Most recently, federal safety officials have launched a probe into whether
the lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles are prone to
fires. The probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
was launched after a Volt caught fire following a crash test.
According to experts, if a lithium battery is pierced by steel, a chemical
reaction occurs that raises the temperature and can result in a fire.
The smaller the piercing, the longer it can take for the fire to happen.
The Associated Press, which learned of the probe from a federal safety
regulator, said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will
examine the safety of batteries from several makes of electric vehicles,
including the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Roadster.
Despite the federal investigation, a rep for GM says the company has done
more than 300 hours of testing on the Volt, and the carmaker doesn’t
believe the electric vehicle poses any greater risk to drivers than a
“There are safety protocols for conventional cars,” he explains.
“As we develop new technology, we need to ensure that safety protocols
match the technology.”
“Safety protocols for electric vehicles are clearly an industry concern.
At GM, we have safety protocols to depower the battery of an electric
vehicle after a significant crash,” he said. “We are working
with other vehicle manufacturers, first responders, tow truck operators,
and salvage associations with the goal of implementing industry-wide protocols.”