Reports suggest that employees were injured in an explosion that occurred earlier today at General Motors' technical center in Warren, Michigan. The explosion may have been caused by a lithium-ion battery within General Motors' Alternative Energy Center.
In an emailed statement, GM confirmed that an explosion occurred at 8:45 a.m. in the Alternative Energy Center. The building was evacuated and all employees were accounted for. Five employees were evaluated by medical personnel, and one employee is said to be receiving further medical care.
GM said that the situation was still under investigation and warned that any report or hypothesis surrounding the accident's cause "is entirely speculative and cannot be confirmed at this time." GM does note the battery in question was a prototype design, and was undergoing extreme testing at the time. The automaker says the incident is "unrelated to the Chevrolet Volt or any other production vehicle."
According to local news source WXYZ and Automotive News, the Warren Fire Department reportedly discovered a fire and smoke when arriving at the research center this morning.
General Motors announced in late 2010 that it would double the size of its battery lab at the Warren, Mich., tech center. Among its many duties and capabilities, the center (shown here in file photos) was designed to help with safety testing, reliability testing, and engineering research for advanced battery systems. The center was critical for GM as it developed batteries for cars like the Chevrolet Volt and other hybrids.