Volvo takes on electric safety

* Unique safety solutions * New challenges with electric cars * Upholds Volvo's safety standards...

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What Car? Staff
23 Sep 2009 13:0 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 0:3

Volvo is working to ensure that any future electric vehicles will meet its stringent safety standards.

The company says it has identified electric-related safety issues that occur before, during and after a collision allowing its engineers to create a unique solution to each.

From manufacture to impact
Volvo's safety solutions for its electric cars will be based on everything from the manufacturing process, how and where the cars might be driven, to the actual impact point of a collision.

Volvo Cars' safety expert, Thomas Broberg, said: 'At present we are conducting tests to see how the battery is affected by harsh braking and the subsequent collision.

We are also carrying out full scale crash tests to evaluate the technology in electrically powered cars.'

The five phases of a collision
Volvo's engineers have analysed the five phases of an accident in order to develop unique safety solutions for electric cars. The five phases are:

1) Normal driving: A comprehensive monitoring system ensures that batteries maintain the correct voltage level and optimal operating temperature. In the event of any change, the battery is automatically shut down.

2) Conflict: The additional weight of batteries can alter the car's behaviour, for instance, in fast avoidance manoeuvres. Volvo's existing platforms and braking systems can handle the increased mass, and Volvo's DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) helps the driver maintain control.

3) Avoidance: If a collision is imminent the vehicle can activate automatic safety systems such as Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and City Safety to avoid or reduce the effects of an impact.

4) Collision: In order to reduce the effects of a collision, the battery is protected in the rear of the car between the wheel housings, separated from the car's crumple zones. This helps safeguard the battery in rear end collisions.

If the battery is damaged, resulting in a gas leak, there are 'evacuation' ducts that remove the gas without any contact with the car's occupants.

5) After the collision: The battery has a cut-out that functions in the same way as a household circuit breaker. It will shut down and isolate the battery if the current travels in the wrong direction, for instance if two cables are pressed together as a result of an accident.