Chevrolet Volt and Opel/Vauxhall Ampera, What do you know?

Ampera Volt Extrication Battery SafetyWith just over 4000 Chevrolet Volts sold in the United States the Michigan made electric cars are started to be exported to other markets. The European market will have the choice of the Volt or the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera.  The Opel Ampera is the European version of the Volt.  The main differences between the Volt and the Ampera are in the styling.   The Ampera will have one additional drive mode than the Volt, City Mode.  The “City Mode” adapts battery management to the needs of commuter travelers which engages the range-extender engine (or “gas generator”) immediately.  The Amperas will be branded as a Vauxhall in the UK.Australia, Brazil, and Japan will have limited numbers of Amperas/Volts imported.

For our knowledge the hazards in the Volt and Amperas are the same in all the models.  The basic vehicle platform is the same regardless of the country.  However, just remember, the Volt is just a car.  If you know how to disable the HV battery than it’s just a car with a huge battery in it!  The information below was taken from the Chevrolet Rescue Data Sheet for the  European Union markets.

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Chevrolet Volt Deactivation Extrication Electric Car Rescue Safety Battery Cable Rear SeatChevrolet Volt Deactivation Extrication Electric Car Rescue Safety Battery Cable

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5 comments

  1. I am curious where you got this information. Your Method I for disconnecting the 12V battery is not listed in the vehicle ERG and it is warned against in the on-line training offered by GM. The on-line training warns that disconnecting the 12V battery will not de-energize the 12V system because the vehicle’s inverter can back-feed the system. Both the ERG and the on-line training recommend cutting the cable located behind the plastic cover on the left side of the luggage compartment (your Method II).

    • Thanks for the reply John. I forgot to put the a link to the Chevrolet Rescue Data Sheet for the European Union markets which is where the information from this post was taken from. The Rescue Data Sheets where put together by the great people over at Moditech Rescue Solutions.

      Method #1 would not be the best for a occupant entrapment with a full extrication operation. What about a fender bender where all the doors open but the door is complaining of neck and back pain? Would you cut the 12V cables in that case or would you secure the power using method number #1?

      I’ll send an email to over to a couple of the guys I know over at Moditech and get some history on this and let you know.

    • Thanks for the reply John. I forgot to put the a link to the Chevrolet Rescue Data Sheet for the European Union markets which is where the information from this post was taken from. The Rescue Data Sheets where put together by the great people over at Moditech Rescue Solutions.
      Method #1 would not be the best for a occupant entrapment with a full extrication operation. What about a fender bender where all the doors open but the driver is complaining of neck and back pain? Would you cut the 12V cables in that case or would you secure the power using method number #1?
      I’ll send an email to over to a couple of the guys I know over at Moditech and get some history on this and let you know.

      • According to the on-line training from GM http://evsafetytraining.org/Training# , Module 6:
        “There are two 12 volt power sources in the Volt. The 12 volt battery and the Accessory Power Module (APM). The APM takes power from the high voltage battery and steps it down to 12 volts for use in [the] vehicle. Since there are two sources of 12 volt power, disconnecting the negative side of the 12V battery in not sufficient. By cutting the 12V positive cable where indicated by the first responder cut-tape, you are also isolating both sources of 12V power.”
         Based on this information, if you wanted to shut down the 12V system without doing damage it looks like you would have to access and disconnect both cables from the 12V battery and disconnect the high-voltage battery by removing the HV Maintenance Plug.
        The on-line training also gives another option for cutting 12V power by accessing the battery cables by removing the lower interior trim inside the driver’s side rear doorway. This does, however place the rescuer in the way of the side-curtain air bags.

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