Losses From GM Lab Battery Explosion Estimated at $5 Million, Employee Still in Hospital

#GM, #Volt

Damage to the GM Warren Tech Center from last week’s battery explosion could reach $5 million, automaker representatives told the Warren Police Department, according to The Detroit News. The estimate includes property and content losses.

Warren Fire Commissioner Skip McAdams estimates the total loss at closer to $3 million, though a more exact figure won’t be known until the investigation concludes.

Chemical gases vented from an experimental battery pack during extreme testing were ignited by an unknown source, causing an explosion. Although the battery pack was being tested inside an enclosed room in the battery lab, the explosion "ripped through an adjacent area causing massive damage, blowing open steel doors, and blowing out windows," according to the Warren Police report.

McAdams said that lab damage is so extensive, it may be difficult to ever pin down what piece of equipment was the ignition source. Five employees were evacuated shortly after the explosion; four were evaluated on site and one was admitted to St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit. The 26-year-old engineer is listed in fair condition and is expected to remain in the hospital at least until the end of the week The Detroit News reports.

Reports from last week suggest GM was experimenting with a new lithium-ion battery and wanted to test until it failed, but becoming an ignition source was not part of the test. The automaker has said the battery isn’t related to the Chevrolet Volt or any other production vehicle.

Source: The Detroit News

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