Prototype battery explosion injures two at GM research center

Two employees were hurt and 80 were evacuated following an explosion at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan this morning.

 

Two employees were hurt and 80 were evacuated following an explosion at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan this morning. Warren Mayor James Fouts told the Detroit News that one person was seriously injured, and the building received considerable damage. “Three very large windows were blown out and thick, fortified doors were forced open by the blast. Our fire commissioner said the blast went straight up in the area where they test lithium batteries. The building was stuffed with personnel and equipment, but it was designed very well.”

According to local TV station WWJ, GM uses its Global Battery Systems Lab, which opened in 2009, to test new battery cells, modules and pack technologies. The lab is equipped with 176 test channels and 49 thermal chambers, which duplicate extreme real-world driving patterns as well as hot and cold temperatures. WWJ reporter Jeff Gilbert said lithium-ion batteries do have a tendency to overheat. “At these laboratories they stress the batteries to the maximum to make sure they’re safe for drivers. So, this is an area where they do a lot of their very important research and it just goes to show that sometimes things happen.”

GM said the incident resulted from “extreme testing” on a prototype battery, and was unrelated to the Chevy Volt or any other production vehicle. This fact will surely be buried by the avalanche of hysterical reactions that is already rolling on the Detroit News’ comments section. There’ll be one hell of a party on the right-wing airwaves tonight.

 

Image: GM

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