Volvo has always been known for building extremely safe vehicles. Following its announcement of both the V70 plug-in hybrid and the C30 BEV, the Swedish automaker revealed it’s studying the extra safety implications involved in adding several hundred pounds of batteries.
To create a safer electric vehicle, Volvo has leveraged its knowledge of how vehicles react in a collision. The company has a large database of vehicles and collision characteristics to help pinpoint areas that need reinforcing within a vehicle, allowing the automaker to find the safest place to install a large battery pack.
“A holistic approach and real-life traffic conditions are always the starting point for Volvo’s safety work,” said Thomas Broberg, a Volvo safety expert. "Based on our massive database featuring input from actual raod accidents, we know where the focus must lie in everyday traffic conditions.”
“The solutions we have developed for our forthcoming electric cars therefore take into account the situations that are unique to this type of car.”
Contrary to what many people think of when they think “crash testing,” each component of the vehicle is tested for safety before it even makes it into the car as a whole. Once every component is shown to be safe, the car is assembled and tested to see how it performs as a whole. This especially applies to the battery pack, which, in a collision, could potentially leak, electrocute an emergency responder, or even be ejected from the vehicle.
To prevent any of these scenarios, Volvo encapsulated the battery, ventilated the pack, and reinforced the steel beams that support the breaker. Emergency workers can use an electrical battery disconnect easily accessible from the outside of the car.