Wednesday, April 11, 2012

GM Says Explosion at Tech Facility Injures Five, One Seriously, was Related to Prototype Battery Testing

The explosion that occurred on Wednesday morning at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, near Detroit, and which we first told you about earlier today, resulted in the injury of five employees, one of which seriously, according to an official statement from the company.

"We are aware of five employees being evaluated on scene by medical personal and only one employee is being further treated," said GM.

A company official told the Detroit News that the employee who was seriously injured and hospitalized is expected to make a full recovery and that the injuries are non-life threatening.

GM explained that the explosion took place this morning at about 8:45 a.m. in one of the laboratories at the Alternative Energy Center and that the incident "was related to extreme testing on a prototype battery", adding that it was "unrelated to the Chevrolet Volt or any other production vehicle".

Nevertheless, several news sites including Detroit News, which cited a GM official, reported that the prototype lithium-ion battery that exploded during intensive tests was manufactured by Massachusetts-based A123.

GM has said that A123 will provide the batteries for the upcoming pure-electric version of the Spark.

While some may connect today's explosion with GM's prior problems with the Chevy Volt's batteries, others like Michelle Krebs, an auto analyst with Edmunds, says people shouldn't jump into hasty conclusions.

"Some critics will use this story to bring back to life the investigation into Chevy Volt fires from earlier this year," Krebs told CBS News. "While this incident deserves some scrutiny - especially since workers were hurt - the fact is that this is the reason why new car technology undergoes rigorous testing, to try to ensure that episodes like this don't happen on the road."

Source: Carscoop
[Video via ABC News]

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