Electric Vehicles: Part 2

SUBJECT: Electric Vehicles TOPIC: Part 2 – 2011 Chevrolet VOLT Battery OBJECTIVE: Given a potential scenario involving a 2011 Chevrolet VOLT, the emergency responder team will understand the components of the vehicle's high-voltage and 12-volt...


SUBJECT: Electric Vehicles TOPIC: Part 2 – 2011 Chevrolet VOLT Battery OBJECTIVE: Given a potential scenario involving a 2011 Chevrolet VOLT, the emergency responder team will understand the components of the vehicle's high-voltage and 12-volt electrical system TASK: The rescue team...


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The VOLT also has a standard 12-volt battery. That battery, located in the rear cargo area, contains typical sulfuric acid and has positive and negative cables attached to it.

To facilitate shutdown of the vehicle's 12-volt and high-voltage electrical systems, engineers have installed First Responder Cut labels. Responders must either open the rear hatchback or remove the hatchback glass to access the inner rear fenderwell area on the driver's side. An access panel can be removed without tools to expose the positive power cable of the 12-volt electrical system running along the rear wheelwell. The bright yellow First Responder Cut label is visible with its red firefighter helmet and cable cutter artwork.

If the on-scene responder determines that the 12-volt and high-voltage electrical systems need to be shut down, making two cuts, one cut in the cable bundle on each side of the Cut label, severs the 12-volt battery's positive cable. By removing a short section of the cable with this recommended double cut procedure, the 12-volt and high-voltage power will be isolated to both batteries.

Access to the 12-volt ground cable can be achieved by opening a small designated (-) access cover beneath the cargo area floor. This exposes the 12-volt negative terminal of the battery along with a length of the ground cable battery so it too can be double cut.

In the event the 12-volt access points are not accessible, the orange high-voltage battery manual service disconnect plug on the top of the center console can be removed as an alternative to high-voltage shutdown.

TASK: The rescue team shall study the 2011 Chevrolet VOLT information provided along with conducting a tour and inspection of an actual vehicle at a Chevrolet dealership to adequately become familiar with management of the vehicle's 12-volt and high-voltage electrical system.

RON MOORE, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is training chief for the McKinney, TX, Fire Department. He also authors a monthly online article in the Firehouse.com "MembersZone" and serves as the Forum Moderator for the extrication section of the Firehouse.com website. Moore can be contacted directly at Rmoore@firehouse.com.