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Explosion At GM Tech Center *UPDATED*


William Maley
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
April 11, 2012

CBS Detroit affiliate WWJ reports that the GM Tech Center in Warren was rocked by an explosion earlier this morning.

Deputy Fire Chief Gary Wilkinson said the explosion happened around 8:50 a.m. at the Alternative Energy Center research center. The cause of the explosion is likely a lithium-ion battery. Wilkinson also said two people have been rushed to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, although a statement released by GM says one has been sent.

GM spokesman Greg Martin told The Detroit News, "We’re aware of an incident this morning at one of our labs at the GM Tech Center that required a fire and emergency response. All employees are accounted for, and we’re trying to learn more details and we’ll share them when we can.”

We'll update this story as soon as we get more information.

UPDATE: Green Car Reports published a statement from GM about the explosion. GM says the explosion was unrelated to the Chevrolet Volt or any other production vehicle, instead saying it was a prototype battery undergoing extreme testing.

Source: CBS Detroit, The Detroit News, Green Car Reports
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17 Comments

WOW, Hope everyone is truly OK and no long lasting scars or bodily dammage done.
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WOW, Hope everyone is truly OK and no long lasting scars or bodily dammage done.

Same here.
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The lasting scars are on the Volt I am sad to say. This is something we would never have heard about if it were not for the Volt and the media that I feel is on the take to damage the Volt image in anyway.

How many normal lead batteries blow up in cars every day and people are injured and we neve hear about it. I had one go in a Vette of all things on me. Not a good thing to blow up in a interior of a car.

I hope the guys in the lab are ok but I hope this deal does not make a lot of misleading headlines that GM and the Volt do not deserve.
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I hope the guys in the lab are ok but I hope this deal does not make a lot of misleading headlines that GM and the Volt do not deserve.


If there are any, I'd expect the group of incompetent apes running Fox News to pull the trigger first. I can just see it on Hannity now ... buhhhhhhh.
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There will be a big screaming headline somewhere warning people that if they have a Volt in their garage that it may be going to explode...
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I hope the guys in the lab are ok but I hope this deal does not make a lot of misleading headlines that GM and the Volt do not deserve.


If there are any, I'd expect the group of incompetent apes running Fox News to pull the trigger first. I can just see it on Hannity now ... buhhhhhhh.


To be fair every network has their incompetent apes running them. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and NBC all have their shares of false and misleading agendas. And then their are idiots like Oberman who just got canned by a network that only 14 people watched. LOL! The Fox thing is just a political year ploy to attract veiwers not much else. All of them do it like editing 911 calls and faking truck fires with model rocket engines.

My point is I feel strongly that companies like Toyota and others who have invested heavily into other energy power systems that could be outdated quickly if the Volt system take root as ideal system.
In the past the we have seen how the media has often been in the tank for Toyota to the point we even call the Toronto Star the Toyota Star. With billions of investment and future sales at risk I see several MFG willing to play dirty Here.

There will be a big screaming headline somewhere warning people that if they have a Volt in their garage that it may be going to explode...


They will twist this as GM is using dangerous technology for the future gen Volt. Remember it it bleeds it leads.

I just pray that no one gets a paper cut on the Volt owners manual as that one too will make a screaming headline.
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I agree with those that say we would not have heard a word about this if it weren't for that one Volt fire.

Politics have no place in the discussion.
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To be fair every network has their incompetent apes running them. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC and NBC all have their shares of false and misleading agendas. And then their are idiots like Oberman who just got canned by a network that only 14 people watched. LOL! The Fox thing is just a political year ploy to attract veiwers not much else. All of them do it like editing 911 calls and faking truck fires with model rocket engines.


I completely agree here.

Someone who allows basic cable news networks to be their only source of news is doing a hefty disservice to their own intellect. Very little that Fox, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, and NBC passes off as journalism is actual journalism and worth the attention span to give notice to. It's total anti-pedantic rubbish that attempts to stir the public by means of complete sensationalism and fear-mongering. It should probably be ruled as toxic to the human brain as smoking meth.

However, when the Republican GOP jumped on the Volt Hate Train, Fox News predictably leapt with them and they both took it to the very end of the line. That's why, just saying, I wouldn't be at all suprised if they're the ones who decide to get things rolling again by using the Tech Center explosion as a catalyst.

Anyway, I'm going to try and re-zip my lips about it from here on out.
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Screw everything else, I just hope everybody will be ok....
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The lasting scars are on the Volt I am sad to say. This is something we would never have heard about if it were not for the Volt and the media that I feel is on the take to damage the Volt image in anyway.


Well, the stories I have read earlier today indicated that this was NOT a Volt battery... however, it is a Lithium Ion battery... and knowing the chemistry going on, it does not surprise me.

I'm surprised with all the Priuses crashing daily, that Toyota, especially with its recent quality problems, hasn't had a couple small explosions. Of course, that also shows the difference in battery sizes between the Prius and the stuff GM is working with.

How many normal lead batteries blow up in cars every day and people are injured and we neve hear about it. I had one go in a Vette of all things on me. Not a good thing to blow up in a interior of a car.


Well, assuming the battery was in the enclosure, that shouldn't have been too bad.

With all the alternator/regulator/grounding issues I've battled with over the decades, I've never had one battery give me trouble, and because I jump from car to car and sometimes cars sit for months of years, I would have expected to have a problem, if it was going to happen.

I remember having one Pep Boys battery damaged in a car accident during my poorest days... I ended up using first chewing gum to hold the top of the battery together, then I glued all the pieces together permanently with caulk a few years later... battery lasted about 2 more years.

Actually, now that I think of it, I did have a battery explode on me. In my electric golf cart. It wasn't too bad... I think I glued that one back together, as well.
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Hope everyone is alright.

Plus side, GM now knows something not to do, or a condition to prevent. Better to learn that now in a lab than in a car (or truck, or bus, or ?) later on.
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Accidents happen in research labs...sounds like they were well equipped to deal with it..
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However, when the Republican GOP jumped on the Volt Hate Train, Fox News predictably leapt with them and they both took it to the very end of the line. That's why, just saying, I wouldn't be at all suprised if they're the ones who decide to get things rolling again by using the Tech Center explosion as a catalyst.


Imagine my disgust to learn this afternoon that I was pretty much right. This time, however, Fox News wasn't content with taking down the Volt again, they decided to take aim at a car that isn't even out yet (guess which one). Also note that (spoiler alert!) they decided to use a photo of a pink Chevy Spark for the article.

I highly advise that if you want to keep your sanity, keep out of the comments section.
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However, when the Republican GOP jumped on the Volt Hate Train, Fox News predictably leapt with them and they both took it to the very end of the line. That's why, just saying, I wouldn't be at all suprised if they're the ones who decide to get things rolling again by using the Tech Center explosion as a catalyst.


Imagine my disgust to learn this afternoon that I was pretty much right. This time, however, Fox News wasn't content with taking down the Volt again, they decided to take aim at a car that isn't even out yet (guess which one). Also note that (spoiler alert!) they decided to use a photo of a pink Chevy Spark for the article.

I highly advise that if you want to keep your sanity, keep out of the comments section.


The battery they were testing was intended for the Spark. Like it or not they got that part right.

This will all change soon as there is a growing embrace of the Volt as Bush one just bought his one son one. Others are now saying nicer things. At this point the election is a toss up and if they should win they will need to change their tune.

I am in no way a supporter of the President but the Volt for all intents is nothing Obama should be blaimed for or even given credit for as the car predates him. GM would have done it no matter if he was around or not. He has enough other flaws to pick at than the Volt you think they would stick to them.

They should understand that most of the people at GM that approved and promoted the Volt are conservitives. Mr Lutz taking the lead there. Anyone see Bob do the 53 Push Ups on the Cobare Report. For 80 years old he is in good shape.
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The lasting scars are on the Volt I am sad to say. This is something we would never have heard about if it were not for the Volt and the media that I feel is on the take to damage the Volt image in anyway.


Well, the stories I have read earlier today indicated that this was NOT a Volt battery... however, it is a Lithium Ion battery... and knowing the chemistry going on, it does not surprise me.

I'm surprised with all the Priuses crashing daily, that Toyota, especially with its recent quality problems, hasn't had a couple small explosions. Of course, that also shows the difference in battery sizes between the Prius and the stuff GM is working with.

How many normal lead batteries blow up in cars every day and people are injured and we neve hear about it. I had one go in a Vette of all things on me. Not a good thing to blow up in a interior of a car.


Well, assuming the battery was in the enclosure, that shouldn't have been too bad.

With all the alternator/regulator/grounding issues I've battled with over the decades, I've never had one battery give me trouble, and because I jump from car to car and sometimes cars sit for months of years, I would have expected to have a problem, if it was going to happen.

I remember having one Pep Boys battery damaged in a car accident during my poorest days... I ended up using first chewing gum to hold the top of the battery together, then I glued all the pieces together permanently with caulk a few years later... battery lasted about 2 more years.

Actually, now that I think of it, I did have a battery explode on me. In my electric golf cart. It wasn't too bad... I think I glued that one back together, as well.


No the lid was open. The battery was a new Die Hard and we found it to have a bad post going into the battery. I was checking this when it went off. Other than my hand hurting from the case blowing out I was ok. I got my eyes closed and washed off fast to I did not get any burns or eye damage. The inside of the Vette was ok. It was an early 70's Stingray with a vinyl interior. There is enough plastic in it that we wiped it down and it never showed any damage. It was a really sweet car as it had a 4 speed and the T tops withthe removable rear window. The owner would let me take it out from time to time.
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I had a Die Hard burst in my Continental.
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black-knight said:

However, when the Republican GOP jumped on the Volt Hate Train, Fox News predictably leapt with them and they both took it to the very end of the line. That's why, just saying, I wouldn't be at all suprised if they're the ones who decide to get things rolling again by using the Tech Center explosion as a catalyst.
Imagine my disgust to learn this afternoon that I was pretty much right. This time, however, Fox News wasn't content with taking down the Volt again, they decided to take aim at a car that isn't even out yet (guess which one). Also note that (spoiler alert!) they decided to use a photo of a pink Chevy Spark for the article.

I highly advise that if you want to keep your sanity, keep out of the comments section.


They might have reported a portion of the news right, but why not make it clear that A123 also does the ugly Toyota Hybrid Battery packs. If your going to throw GM and Nissan under the bus, then pack the rest of them in with it. But probably some moron at Fox News is on the board or has a large investment in Toyota so like Biased Consumer Reports will not point it out.
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