Volvo, along with the release of the prototype C30 BEV, has begun conducting widespread analysis and testing of safety concerns specific to electric vehicles.

The company, widely known for its advanced safety features and also regarded as one of the pioneers in the safety field, hopes to achieve the highest standards for safety for EVs.  Though EVs have certain unique challenges in regards to safety, Volvo believes that certain techniques can be utilized to ensure drivers that EVs are every bit as safe as conventional cars.

Volvo is working on a system that provides automatic monitoring of the battery status.  This system will allow the cars electronics to know if the battery is experiencing any problems.  If, for example, the vehicle is involved in a collision severe enough to push both leads of the battery or associated wires together resulting in a short, the system automatically interrupts the power supply in a manner similar to a ground fault circuit in a home.

In addition to collision protection, the battery is constantly monitored for any conditions such as extreme temperatures or incorrect voltage reading that could lead to a potential hazard.  If the battery reaches a hazardous state, the system is automatically shut down to prevent any injury to passengers.

The battery is fully encapsulated in the rear of the vehicle.  The crumple zones surrounding the battery have been separated  from the battery itself to ensure the battery is not damaged in a collision and to ensure that the zones functions as expected. 

Additionally, Volvo takes into account the additional weight of the battery setup and programs news parameters into the cars active safety measure such as stability control and traction control systems.  Along with other safety systems such as Collision Warning, City Safety, and Full Auto Brake, Volvo believes that EVs can be made as safe as conventional cars and drivers need not be concerned about safety elements of EVs.

Volvo leads the ways in many safety related innovations and EVs are another field where they are applying their expertise.  Growing concerns over potential battery related safety issues have forced automakers to respond assuring the safety of the occupants of EVs and Volvo is prepared for EV models to hit the roads.

Source:  Volvo Press Release