Extrication Zone, Firefighter Training

Extrication: Vehicle Profile: Chevrolet Volt

By Jason Emery

Today we are going to take a quick look at the first Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV) on the market, the Chevrolet Volt. It was first released in the fall of 2010 in select markets, and went nationwide in 2011.

From the exterior, the vehicle can be primarily identified by the “Volt” badging on the front fenders and on the liftgate. Additionally, the door for the charging port is located on the driver’s side front fender underneath the Volt logo. The interior features digital display screens which also provide clues such as the battery state of charge indictor.

The Volt is constructed of nearly 80 percent high and ultra-high strength steel with the vehicle essentially built around the six foot, 400 pound, liquid cooled, 360 volt lithium ion battery that runs down the center of the vehicle and under the rear seats. In addition to the high voltage battery, there is an engine generator under the hood that is designed to generate electricity to power the drive motors when the battery becomes depleted. The average range on the fully charged battery is 25-50 miles with an additional 344 miles provided by the engine generator running off the 9.3 gallon gasoline supply. The Volt battery can be recharged using a level I or II charging station.

Since this vehicle has both a high voltage electrical system as well as a gasoline powered generator onboard, first responders should treat this vehicle as you would a hybrid and be sure to control both energy sources.

For a more in depth look at this vehicle and its emergency response procedures be sure to take the NFPA/GM Volt safety training course.

JASON EMERY, a 21-year veteran of the fire service, is a lieutenant with the Waterbury (CT) Fire Department, where he is assigned to the rescue/hazmat company. He has a BS in fire science from the University of New Haven and is a member of the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. He is a subject matter expert for the National Fire Protection Association, a member of its development team, and the lead instructor for its Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Training program. He founded Emergency Training Solutions, designed the PowerPoint® materials for Fire Engineerings Handbook for Firefighter I & II, and is a contributing author to the soon-to-be published Company Officer Handbook from Fire Engineering.

Blog content from the NFPA’s Electric Vehicle Safety Training Web site. For more information on hybrid and electric vehicles, visit www.evsafetytraining.org.