GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I live in an apartment building with a closed three-store garage. When I asked building management to use electric outlet located right on my parking spot to charge my Volt, they sent me the following response:

Dear Mr. XY

The Board of Directors has discussed your request to install an electrical outlet for the purpose of charging the batteries of your Hybrid car and has declined your request for the time being.

After researching your request it was determined that there are many risks and hazards associated with charging Hybrid vehicle batteries in confined spaces. So far the investigation has shown that without major redesign of the ventilation system of the building, the emissions given off by these batteries are very dangerous and can even lead to an explosion.

The board will continue to investigate this request and should any new information be found in favour of allowing Hybrid vehicles to be charged in parkades safely, the Board will advise you accordingly.

Yours truly,
Condominium Manager XY

I am still a little bit paralysed by this opinion but I don't want to give up on my Volt yet. If you know where to look, could you please point me to some Volt security white papers and US or even better Canadian safety approval documents from Department of Transportation, or anything that could help my Building Management Board to change their decision? Thank you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,486 Posts
They looked into Lead-Acid battery golf cart recharging. Lithium Ion batteries would give off very neglible gasses while charging. If you have a laptop computer, it has a Lithium Ion battery in it. Do they allow charging of laptops in the Condo complex? Your situation will come up a lot in "managed" communities. Where managed means "let's keep risk as low as possible."

However, there is a caveat. A poorly-designed charging system (ie. not the Volt) could lead to overcharging of a Lithium cell within a pack. Overcharging Lithium-based batteries well beyond the full-state voltage of 4.2v could lead to a "venting" of a lithium cell. This is thermal overload and could be a problem. There is some Lithium chemistries a bit more safe than others, one that has some history of this is the A123 LiFEPO4 batteries from A123 Systems.

Do they allow gasoline cans to be stored in the garage(s)? If so, they are far more risky than a plug-in car being charged. They better have rules against lawn mower gas can storage as well. Very flammable.

The navy states (in the presentation link below) that Lithium Ion, if it vents due to over-charge could do some of the below. This is the very rare condition of over-charging and only if the battery pack is not well managed as the Volt is.

A venting of a lithium ion battery may release
•Flammable organic electrolyte (e.g. PC-EC-DMC)
•LiPF6--this material is reactive with water; forms HF acid
•Carbon either as carbon or water reactive lithiated graphites
•LiNiCoO2or other lithiated oxides and heavy/transition metals
•Metal foils and fragments (copper or aluminum)
•Methane, hydrogen, carbon monoxide (electrolyte decomposition products)

http://proceedings.ndia.org/5670/Lithium_Battery-Winchester.pdf

Other links:

See Mar-22-2011 link here: http://www.sae.org/mags/aei/rgstd/news/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery
http://www.prba.org/prba/battery_basics/lithium_ion_safety/Default.ashx
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,022 Posts
It would be interesting to know where they got their info about the Volt's "many risks and hazards" while recharging in confined spaces. Do they have info on the Volt that we don't?

They say they will review if/when more info is available. Perhaps a Volt Advisor can find someone at GM has a white paper that dispels the boards fears?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
867 Posts
Could some on the board have read about the garage fire and the volt?

One thing that does concern me is the possibility of the ICE starting even though the car is not 'on'? Does anyone know for a fact that if the battery gets too cold, the ICE will start to help keep the battery warm even though the car is not 'on'? I live in Louisiana and have a carport so I am not concerned about the ICE starting, but for the people who live in extrememly cold climates with enclosed garages, does this concern you? Has the ICE ever started while in your enclosed garage?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,431 Posts
I am also intrigue about that "investigation", maybe they read about the singular event with the Volt and the garage fire (under much different circumstances). But you can easily show that gasoline fires and carbon monoxide poisoning is more common inside enclosed garages, and ask them what will they do if it does happen since all of the "other vehicles" are gasoline powered, and all do release gasoline vapors and create carbon monoxide.

One point that I see in the letter against you is this:
"The Board of Directors has discussed your request to install an electrical outlet for the purpose of charging the batteries of your Hybrid car and has declined your request for the time being."

Why "install" instead of using an existing outlet? Are you asking for a 240 VAC outlet for faster charging?

Raymond
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
I have been fighting with my work place about plugging in. they thought that "operations and safety reasons" kept me from pluggin in, even to 110. they say that they are working on installing 220 charge stations.

one of my friends suggested that it may need to be legislated that we can plug in... maybe so?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
355 Posts
OK, first of all, there are ZERO emissions produced from a LI battery while charging. The batteries are completely enclosed and sealed within the battery pouch. Lead-acid batteries however, do produce a small amount of hydrogen gas while charging which is apparently what they became concerned about while carefully researching the topic.

Secondly, why did you even bother to ask? Didn't you ever hear the expression "It's better to beg for forgiveness than to ask permission"? :) Just tell them it's a block heater. They're obviously idiots.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
One point that I see in the letter against you is this:
"The Board of Directors has discussed your request to install an electrical outlet for the purpose of charging the batteries of your Hybrid car and has declined your request for the time being."

Why "install" instead of using an existing outlet? Are you asking for a 240 VAC outlet for faster charging?

Raymond
I have never asked for installation of any kind - I just asked them for the permission to use the existing 110V outlet that is right on my parking spot. It only shows how much they don't understand what this is all about or how much they want to reject my request. BTW: Electric vehicles are considered to be a public enemy #1 here in Alberta (oil producing Canadian province) and there is no support or incentives for this kind of vehicles at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Secondly, why did you even bother to ask? Didn't you ever hear the expression "It's better to beg for forgiveness than to ask permission"? :) Just tell them it's a block heater. They're obviously idiots.
I know - I am just too polite and I have only problems with that. Block heater.. LOL, you are right that they are probably stupid enough to expect me using block heater in the closed and heated garage :).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29 Posts
This would be an excellent opportunity for your Volt Advisor to intervene

This would be an excellent opportunity for your Volt Advisor to intervene. This is exactly what they are there for. This should start a chain of events inside GM that either resolves your issue or prepares a policy / PR campaign / standardized form letter requesting rights to charge / etc. to assit people in the future from encountering this sort of ridiculousness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,208 Posts
See this as an opportunity to patiently engage them on their misunderstandings. These aren't lead acid batteries, that fire wasn't caused by either electric vehicle, these cars are high performing and fun to drive, et cetera. Offer some lunchtime drives (and pay for the meal). Even if you don't convince them to let you plug into that existing outlet, you'll have helped us move the ball a little down the road. It might take them another year to come around, but the next step is still to directly engage them, patiently and politely, on the specifics of their misinformation. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
This would be an excellent opportunity for your Volt Advisor to intervene. This is exactly what they are there for. This should start a chain of events inside GM that either resolves your issue or prepares a policy / PR campaign / standardized form letter requesting rights to charge / etc. to assit people in the future from encountering this sort of ridiculousness.
That would be great but I'm afraid that Volt Advisors are helping only to Volt owners. I don't have one yet: I pre-ordered my Volt two months ago and I paid $1000 to get a chance to get on my dealer's waiting list. My dealer should call me this week to check on my selected options and allocate my spot in the 2012 Volt production. At the moment it seems like I'll have to cancel my order and forget this vehicle I was waiting for last 5 years as I have no where to charge it.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
8,680 Posts
That would be great but I'm afraid that Volt Advisors are helping only to Volt owners. I don't have one yet: I pre-ordered my Volt two months ago and I paid $1000 to get a chance to get on my dealer's waiting list. My dealer should call me this week to check on my selected options and allocate my spot in the 2012 Volt production. At the moment it seems like I'll have to cancel my order and forget this vehicle I was waiting for last 5 years as I have no where to charge it.
If it's that much of a dream, I wouldn't give up on it this soon. Just because you can't charge it right now doesn't mean you won't get a solution soon - and by all accounts the Volt is a nice car even if it's stuck in CS mode the whole time.
Walter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,251 Posts
Here in America I would be calling my local newspaper and TV stations to have interviews, video footage, and all sorts of news coverage of how you cannot charge an electric car in your complex. Situations like this may require one major solution that you must consider to gain your freedom to charge.

MOVE to a location where you can charge.

Even though I am in a HOA (home owner association) I did not contact the board because a previous board member told me that I wasn't changing the exterior, just making required modifications to add a second meter to charge the vehicle. One thing I did do is to make sure that the job was done to exact standards to match the existing panel so that it appears that the original builder did the job. I did that to set a standard for others to follow if it became an issue. The results are perfect and no comments or complaints have occurred. I intend to contact the management company to send before and after photos to help them have an example if someone else requests a second meter.

I shared the above to encourage others to set a standard. If ventilation is suggested by GM, then work with the complex to install what is necessary. If it is not required, then they need to know that. One thing for sure, we are charging our Volts in private enclosed garages with a gas water heater in the garage. If there was an "explosive" emission during charging, we would know it. I am happy to report that the Volt continues to charge safely night after night.

(I should be more concerned about my XLR that has a trickle charger connected to it. The battery was low due to lack of use and that vehicle is closer to the water heater!)

One more thing... Sometimes you cannot get a resolution. When GM offered to pay for all four attached town homes of a CAB member to have second meter charge station wiring, one residence refused and the whole project was cancelled. That CAB member had to settle for a single meter plan because of her neighbor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
738 Posts
kubismatik,
Interesting problem to think about. Since you are being a leader and having a vision (by buying a VOLT) in this world of transportation you are surfacing issues that some may want to quickly dismiss, like your outlet request. We all know that they will have tome come around at some time however. I would approach them again with your request suggesting that only OEM's vehicles be allowed plug in since they have undergone the same safety testing as conventional vehicles and pose no added risk. Also, I think you could also touch on how conventional cars are allowed to plug in their block heaters, some of which may be add ons (which pose an undocumented risk) and not an OEM product (which are safety tested for that vehicle). And as you know storing fuel in the way of other cars or maintenance products contain risks beyond the unproven gas release EV which is not an issue with the VOLT and likely other OEM's.

By the way there is nothing wrong with being polite, too many are not these days. Besides politeness can win in the end. On many occasions in business and personal life I have seen the arrogant person win the battle but lose the war. So they did not win after all.

I hope you find a solution with your complex.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Reach out to a Volt Advisor and ask them for help. Certainly it's in the best interest of GM to help folks with these situations.
 
Joined
·
3,600 Posts
Hi kubismatik,

Check your inbox, I sent you a private message.

Volt Advisor Trevor
Chevrolet Volt Advisor Team
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,499 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
355 Posts
It sounds like some resolution may be in the works...but if all else fails, just plug in and charge until somebody tells you not to. If the outlet is right there, why not? If they give you a hard time, offer to pay $30/month or something to offset their costs.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top