Regulators reviewing safety of Lithiumion batteries in electric cars after a Chevy Volt caught fire 3 weeks after a crash test. I wish them no ill will but this may bode well for potentially more thought for natural gas cars.
I had heard of concerns about this some time ago, is even an issue in some hybrids. The risk is real, not just fire but potentially explosion if cells are crushed or overcharged. This is just agreement of what has already said and this isn't a new discover but an existing safety concern.
I think there are some studies with other battery chemistry like ZiNc (nickel-zinc) that don't carry those dangers, are environmental friendly, and I think lower cost to produce. I think at least one of the auto rechargeable companies may be looking at this (I am not promoting and have no holdings in that industry). There are some consumer rechargeable products like this that I have used personally that work very well.
I do agree with using compressed NG for auto, especially if it can be done with practically. Ideally this could be done where you basically have a home NG filling system, many would probably take advantage. Once more vehicles are produced, gas stations have incentive to equip for the same.
Rancher, you are right about the fire hazard. Some of us have been saying for years that these lithium batteries are a fire hazard. In time you are going to start seeing reports in the news of garage fires and house fires traced back to the batteries. They also present an electrical shock hazard if the car's high voltage wire harness is severed in a crash. In time you will probably start to see reports of passengers or emergency paramedics electrocuted when the high voltage wires shorted in a crash.
And of course lithium batteries are toxic and have the potential to poison the environment if not properly recycled or disposed of. But of course we all know that everyone properly disposes of their old rusted out junkers.
No need to worry though. The Chevy Volt is a sales flop. Despite obscene government subsidies they only managed to sell 723 of them in September. They sold only 421 of them in August. For the entire year through September they sold a whopping 3,895 of them. Same story for the Nissan Leaf all electric. Sales in September for the Leaf were 1031 cars, a drop of 331 from August sales. If you don't believe me, google the sales figures.
Environmentalists talk a good game about electric cars. But when it comes to actually spending their own money to buy one, they are not that crazy.
I think that in time we will see wide spread use of natural gas in trucks and cars. But based on these recent sales figures electric cars may not be around much longer.
Saw a comment earlier this week that the average annual income of the typical Chevy Volt buyer is $175,000. Why isn't the question being asked why are we subsidizing (I think the tax credit is smomething like $7500) someone who makes that much money?