Volvo Car USA has provided the Boston Fire Department with a fully electric XC40 Recharge SUV so first responders can gain a deeper understanding of post-accident safety involving battery electric vehicles (BEV).
One of the top priorities for first responders when arriving on an accident scene is to safely extract occupants from the vehicle. While procedures and methods for conventionally powered vehicles have been in place for decades, BEVs present new challenges.
As more all-electric vehicles hit the road, first responders must adapt their extrication procedures to safely work around the large primary battery and high voltage wiring found in such cars and SUVs. These components can have an impact on where first responders should attempt to cut into the vehicle to gain access to the occupants. Additionally, BEVs like the Volvo XC40 Recharge incorporate ultra-high-strength steel into their design, requiring first responders to use even more specialized extrication procedures.
The XC40 Recharge incorporates Volvo safety features designed to protect drivers and passengers, as well as first responders. These include a dedicated battery safety cage and independently sealed and cooled battery modules to prevent damage and leaks, brightly colored high voltage wiring to prevent unintentional contact, and an easily accessible deactivation switch to shut down all high voltage power.
Eric Miller, vice president of the northeast region for Volvo Car USA, delivered the XC40 Recharge to Boston FD Commissioner Jack Dempsey and other department representatives at a ceremony on May 6.
“As we continue to see the rise in all-electric vehicles on our roadways, it is important to give our first responders the tools they need to be able to perform their emergency procedures effectively and to keep everyone involved safe,” Miller said. “Volvo Cars is proud to provide the Boston Fire Department with an XC40 Recharge so they can continue to develop these procedures that are vital to the work they are doing on a daily basis.”
“I want to thank Vice President Eric Miller and Volvo for their generous contribution,” Dempsey said. “Auto extrication comes with a multitude of potential hazards to the firefighters and the victims of vehicle accidents. Electric vehicles are a part of our future, and this will help us prepare for those unfortunate incidents where these learned skills will save lives.”