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Huge 2012 Chevy Volt Crash Proves Its Safety Credentials

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2012 Chevy Volt Crash: © Livingstone County News / Michael Johnson

2012 Chevy Volt Crash: © Livingstone County News / Michael Johnson

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Ever since a battery pack from a 2012 Chevrolet Volt caught fire weeks after it was subjected to tough National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests in a laboratory, critics of General Motor’s plug-in hybrid have been quick to question its safety credentials

But after a Toyota Camry hit a parked Chevrolet Volt in the Sedate town of Geneseo, New York, after failing to stop at an intersection, there’s little doubt that the Chevrolet Volt is safe. 

According to local news, the accident occurred at 1am on May 18, when the 22-year old driver of the Toyota Camry sped through the intersection, crossed a ditch and impacted the Volt, which was parked next to a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee on the owners’ driveway.

The impact was so violent, it pushed both the Volt and the Jeep an estimated 25 feet in a lateral direction, and threw debris some 150 feet from the impact.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

Enlarge Photo

It also damaged the owners’ home, destroying part of the garage and even cracking plaster on walls on the other side of the home.

All three cars were destroyed, but the Volt, which was hit first, suffered the most damage. 

With its engine bay, windshield pillar and roof pillars crushed, the Volt is almost unrecognizable after it was hit by the flying Camry.  But even though the collision was at speeds rarely seen in a traffic accident and the Camry’s engine caught fire immediately after the crash, the Volt’s battery pack appears intact. 

It’s a shame to see a brand new car destroyed in such a violent crash, but it does send at least one positive message about the Volt: just like a regular car, it didn’t explode simply because it was hit. 

Although all three cars were destroyed in the accident, not to mention substantial property damage sustained, the driver of the Camry was taken to hospital with concussion and a fractured hip. 

“It was just material things which were damaged. Everything can be put back together. Human life is more important than material things,”  Stanley Johnson, the Volt’s owner,  mused to the local press. 

And we have to agree.

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Comments (21)
  1. So, the Toyota didn't stop or couldn't?
     
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  2. Geneseo is a college town. It also was a 25mph zone. It also was 2am and I would have to say the driver would be to blame in this one. Too un-sober to stop, maybe?
     
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  3. I agree John thats a more mature assumption than the cheap joke attempt aimed at Toyota.
     
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  4. Glad to hear no one was seriously hurt or killed in the collision. Also good to hear that the Volt didn't "explode" in a giant mushroom cloud as the sensationalists have described in the past. However, it wasn't explicitly mentioned in the article if the battery was properly discharged/drained as per the safety protocols. Do we know for sure if those procedures have been followed?
     
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  5. Should we expect to see an article in another couple weeks about how this one caught fire after sitting in the impound lot for weeks and they never discharged the battery? I sure hope not.
     
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  6. I'm afraid a single crash doesn't prove very much if nothing happens. Sample sizes of one are not acceptable in any experiment.
     
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  7. Yet, you were here bleating about the lack of safety for the Volt when the first reports of the Volt fire started. So much for consistency... When it looked bad after one fire, you compared the Volt unfavorably with the Tesma Roadster. Now, when the Volt does fine, you refuse to accept it.

    So, Kent, would it be more accurate to state that in your world, sample sizes are okay at one for the Volt when it's negative news, but not okay when something is positive for the Volt? Perhaps you'd like to review your comments here after the first Volt fire?
     
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  8. The good news is that, assuming the onwer replaces the Volt, GM sells one more.
     
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  9. Excellent report, Nikki! Had the Volt caught fire next to the burning Camry, the right-wing press would have been all over this story. No doubt they will ignore this one, or try to dismiss it, as Mr. Beuchert attempts. But a crash of this magnitude -- even stronger than the NHTSA side-impact tests (which did not completely destroy the Volts as this one did) is powerful testimony to the safety of the Chevrolet Volt.
     
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  10. Seems to me the Volt is more reliable than the brainless human that caused it, some innocent bystander could have been killed!
     
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  11. "Sample sizes of one" can be used for very strong evidence, given certain conditions, e.g. that the "sample" is consistently representative of the larger population (small or zero standard deviation for each data point, which seems reasonable in a production car setting). Medical journals publish "case studies" as important insights and behavior modification research in psychology (Skinnerian Psychology) certainly recognizes such data.
     
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  12. George, now what have I told you aqbout using logic here...? Yes, all good, valid points, of course. But then the haters wouldn't have their usual whipping boy, would they? I love how quickly some people change their views when new evidence contradicts their views. Kent was all over this site about the poor GM engineering and how nobody could call the Volt safe after the one fire (the others hadn't even been reported yet), yet now, one example is meaningless...

    Thanks once again for your coverage of the Volt. I got mine two months ago and love it. Despite the irritating lack of ground clearance...
     
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  13. I am glad to see this. I was never concerned with Volt. I am curious to know if the Volt had people in it, would they have survived the crash? I am also curious to see how the Camry looks.
     
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  14. I saw this on Torque.Com first, though I don't know if they were first to get it into the EV media. In both stories, it takes way too long to figure out what happened to the driver of the Volt. "Parked" doesn't necessarily mean no one was in the Volt. Though, the quote from the Volt owner near the end, does clarify that he wasn't in the Volt. More clarity at the top of the story, adding "an unoccupied parked Volt", etc. would really help.
     
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  15. when was the last time clarity prevailed in sensational journalism? Its all about the agenda and and what they are promoting.
     
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  16. i personally think the biggest thing in this story is the attitude of the homeowner. after getting both car destroyed along with substantial damage to his home, he still thought putting a barrier between his house and the street was a bad idea despite the fact that this was the 8th or ninth time a car had ended up in his yard!

    as far as the Volt not exploding? it was stationary and cold. dont get me wrong, it is significant but not as much as we'd like to think it is.

    the Camry burned because it was hot. simply too many flammable fluids in the car for it not too catch fire somehow.
     
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  17. Volt doesn't really care if it was "hot" or "cold". Battery is always energized (or holding at least 6KWhr of charges). So, by "definition" it is always "hot"...
     
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  18. What exactly is your concept of the Volt being cold? are you applying ICE standards here or is it because it was parked?
    Even being parked it could have just been used thirty seconds before..speculation speculation speculation!
     
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  19. Yep, Mr. Johnson is definitely the bad guy here. Terrible of him not to have engineered a giant energy absorbing barrier that catches cars launched from nearby streets and safely cradles the occupants of high-speed-airborne-vehicles and doesn't result in him being financially destroyed in civil court, rendering his family destitute. Shame on him for not building a modern, tort proof, engineering marvel which naturally improves the aesthetic and financial value of his home and raises the neighbors property values as well. May a permanent pox befall him for being such a thoughtless victim.
     
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  20. Jeff, hard to type when I'm laughing at your post, in a good sense, of course... Mr. Johnson handled the news with aplomb and class, yet is attacked for it and not having the barrier made despite life just not being that simple... Yes, we are a blame society... Thanks for the witty comeback!
     
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  21. This article should have the headline Toyota Camry bursts into flame after colliding with a parked car!

    Oh! I forgot that no one cares that ICE cars catch fire regularly but when there is a fire with an EV (even weeks after damage) it makes national news headlines.
     
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