1. #1
    firefighter26
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb Gas / electric hybrid problems with the next generation of MVA

    With the cost of fuel ever increasing, it is only a matter of time before the big car manufacturers start producing (or, in some cases, increase production) of gas electric hybrids.
    I would like to know if anyone has heard anything about how to handle the extrication on these vehicles..... I mean, I wouldn't want to be cutting a b-post and shake hands with 10 000 volts!! (for example)

  2. #2
    jducharme
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Here is a new hybrid-hydrogen/electric by Honda and they have a working prototype. This is where the article is posted http://www.ai-online.com/news/112800HondaFuelCell.htm
    Two things come to mind-Hindenberg and the Bomb. Happy reading!

  3. #3
    sledgehammer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    I have a copy of the Toyota Prius emergency response guide lets go through it and see if I can help you out. I dont even know where I got it.
    Mapping the car, the gas engine is on the right hand side in the front. The electrical motor is on the left. There is a high voltage cable that runs from the electrical engine to the HV batteries in the trunk. The HV wiring harness run through the floor on the left hand side of the vehicle. The HV wiring harness is marked in orange to distinguish it from the 12 volt systme. It looks to me like the right hand side is free and clear. I would be carefull using a ram on the left hand side, and I wouldnt even think about using a cutter there either. If you need to cut the b pillar just try to stay away from the floor. There might be pretensioners in the pillar so be carefull.
    The trunk carries the HV battery and the auxiliary battery. The battery is a NICKEL-METAL HYDRIDE. The cells contain electrolyte made of potassium hydroxide. The battery should not leak if the module is tilted sideways unless it is punctured.
    Treat this as any electrical scene. In the handling of the car use rubber or insulated gloves, rubber boots, and safty goggles. I dont see anything unusuall about the srs systme, use standard airbag safty procedures. If there is any damage to the HV components and you need to disconect the systme follow these steps.
    1.Put shift lever into P
    2.Remove the IG key
    3.Disconnect the cable from the negative terminal of the auxiliary battery(smaller battery located on left side of trunk.
    4.Remove Service plug(with insulated gloves)located on the left side of the HV battery.(The service plug does not disable the individual HV battery. If you can not remove the service plug due to damage to the rear of the vehicle, remove the HV fuse or the IGTC relay instead(located in the front engine compartmen).
    Use common sense with electricity. If the vehicle is submerged in water remove before attempting anything.
    If I have missed anything let me know.

  4. #4
    firefighter26
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    sledgehammer:

    Thanks for the information. I assume that I can get one of those Toyota Prius emergency response guides at any dealer, as well as the other dealers for their vehicles.
    Do you have any views on this subject. I mean, I have been to many MVA's since I joined 3 years ago, but this is new to me.... it has the 10+ year veterns a little stress out as well.

    jducharme brought up an interesting point, hybrid-hydrogen/electric vehicles. I know that we are prepared form most transport vehicle accidents (carrying fuel, etc) but hydrogen is a very scary to deal with!

    Thanks for all the great ideas so far, if anyone else as anything.... please share the knowledge.

  5. #5
    sledgehammer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    With the addition of hybrid cars to our already current problem,airbags, the major thing that fire and ems personel need to remember is that now we are dealing with electricity. We need to change the way we view a scene. Scene safty and scene sizeup are going to be the most important weapons in our extrication arsonal. We need to recognize an electric car if we role up on one. Added to the problem of electricity, if the HV battery is breached we now also have a hazardous materials scene. Potassium hydroxide reacts intensly with zinc, aluminum,tin ,and other active metals,and other organic compounds creating flamable hydrogen gas.
    As far as the new high presure hydrogen car, you can see from the above battery breach we are already dealing with the wonderful world of hydrogen.
    I linked to the site you are refering to and it scared the hell out of me too.
    The only thing I can say is make sure you do a very very good scene size up at ALL times, and remember that we now have a possible haz mat incident on these little cars.

  6. #6
    Chiefbeal
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Thanks for the info on the Toyotas. I am slightly more familiar with the Honda Insight. Guess you could say I have some insight! There is a difference between the two; the Toyota is electric assisted by the gas, the Honda is gas assisted by the electric. The reason for the precautions is that these nickel-metal batteries are 144 volts. That raises the amperage to something lethal. If you're familar with driveline retarders, these look similar but smaller and they are around the crankshaft.
    In the Insight the small battery is in the engine compartment on the top of the firewall. The nickel-metal hydride battery is in the back, fully encased in metal with a master switch on the top, under a cover held in place with screws and under the matting. Got all that? (I do have jpgs of the switch. Chiefbeal@aol.com)
    Now here's the big difference. With the Honda if you stop at a traffic light, put the transmission in neutral and let out the clutch - the engine stops. The light turns green and you put the transmission in gear and let out the clutch the vehicle begins to move on the nickel-metal hydride battery. The gas engine starts on its own! Put that in your extrication scenario. You need to disentangle a pt's limb or gain a little space so you move the transmission lever. As the car tries to move away you might hear "But Chief, I cut the engine battery cable." Could it happen on a scene? I think if proper precautions are not taken, remove the key and access and turn off the previously mentioned switch, yes it could happen.

  7. #7
    Sta22BeaverCoPA
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    When teaching vehicle rescue classes and new car technology I always receive numerous questions. But the one that always comes up is, "With the hybrid vehicles coming out and the amount of voltage, everyone wants to know what amperage is the vehicle actually putting out ?
    I'm not an electrician so I can't answer this and is this a concern to rescuers, not the voltage.
    Any help out there ?

    Thank You
    Mark Wolz
    PA DOH BVR Instructor

  8. #8
    Ron Shaw
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    It should be pointed out that the Toyota Prius guideline was for internal use for their personnel in the service centers should they respond to a crash to recover a Prius.

    As you go through the current document previously mentioned, you will notice text that will tip you off that this was not intended to be used as a response guide for emergency responders.

    I have been in contact with Toyota and they are aware that there are responder issues and are eager to address and resolve these concerns. One way that they will do this is to develop an emergency guideline for "responders".

    The new guideline should address the concerns of fire, police, EMS and tow personnel that routinely respond to a crash.

    While we all have a need to know, you will have to be patient until a factual document comes out that can be used by responders with confidence. The above guideline that has been spoken about has some discrepancies on the point of view as a firefighter along with some concerns regarding the NiMH batteries. The NiMH are small batteries which are in a series. When the math is done, you will find out that the total output is approximately 266v. There is a conventional battery 12v battery as well.

    The Honda uses a 144v system, they are not consistent, responders can not assume anything with these vehicles.

    There also has been some concern as to the reactivity of the extinguisher compounds with that of the NiMH. While it was suggest earlier to use a Medal-X extinguisher, at least one powder is made with a compound of copper. This metal and many others will cause a reaction and form hydrogen gas. wether this is the case here, that issue will be addressed by engineers from Panasonic.

    The NiMH battery is suppose to be a very stable battery, in that it will not leak if inverted or a crack develops like the lead acid type battery. However, in a severe crash there could very well be a hazardous spill. These and other situations should be all be answered in the new emergency responder guideline that Toyota has promised to develop for the emergency responder.

    Panasonic of U.S. has declined to provide any information regarding the NiMH batteries, instead they have instructed me to contact Toyota or the other HV automakers for further information. However, when you ask Toyota they don't have the answers. Going back to the battery maker, Panasonic here in the U.S. said that they don't make the batteries, that the division that makes batteries cooperate headquarters is in Japan and that they are the ones supplying the NiMH batteries. Where do we go from here, well you should all be familiar with the Right to Know Law. Or, you can wait until Toyota comes out with the answers for you.

    Stay safe, use Proper PPE including SCBA where there is a severe crash and the NiMH batteries are damaged. If you see any brightly colored electrical lines don't cut!

    As a suggestion, take a visit to your local dealership, after you go to their web site and go with some questions. Honda, Toyota, Renault, Ford, GM they all have an alternative fueled vehicle. With energy efficient fuels, these vehicles are here to stay and now is the time to start learning more about them not waiting for an accident to happen.

    Ron Shaw

    ------------------
    Ron Shaw http://www.extrication.com

    [This message has been edited by Ron Shaw (edited 02-12-2001).]

  9. #9
    Chiefbeal
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Ron,
    I have been advised that the NiMH battery is a dry battery similar to our portable radio battery. (The term hydride refers to dry) Do you have any information about this? Thanks!

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