As we move toward the December launch of electric cars from real automakers--the 2011 Nissan Leaf and the 2011 Chevrolet Volt--there are many myths and fears that will have to be dispelled among consumers.
One of them is the old toaster-in-the-bathtub fear: If you get an electric car really wet ... It. Might. KILL. You!
To dispel that inchoate anxiety--or maybe just to highlight yet another facet of the Volt's exhaustive development testing--the latest video from GM's ever-perky PR firm shows a Chevy Volt driving through the flooded-road water trough at Milford Proving Grounds.
As the release notes, "This test ensures that the Volt is protected against water intrusion into the battery, eliminating any potential hazards caused by such an event." And a somber Rob Drexler, a Volt development engineer, explains the safety systems in some detail.
Translation: No, the 2011 Chevy Volt extended-range electric vehicle will NOT electrocute you if it gets soaking wet. (Which should hardly be a surprise.)
Every major automaker tests hundreds of pre-production cars, crashing dozens, pounding dozens more over bad roads, through water courses, freezing and baking them, all in the name of ensuring that they'll behave predictably no matter what consumers do.
The only difference now is that it's all grist for the Public Relations mill. Though if it dispels thoughts of toasters in bathtubs, maybe that's not such a bad thing.