The Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid includes a systematic approach to all safety aspects related to battery power.
The basic perspective is that the plug-in version must be as safe as any other new Volvo car - when it comes to owning and driving and also in the event of an accident.
“We apply the same high safety standards to all our products but the safety-related challenges may differ depending on the driveline and fuel being used. To us, electrification technology is another exciting challenge in our quest to build the safest cars on the market,” says Jan Ivarsson, Senior Manager Safety Strategy & Requirements at Volvo Car Corporation. He adds:
“It is understandable that a lot of questions about electrification safety are related to what will happen in an accident but it is important to have a holistic approach including all the aspects of day-to-day usage of the car.”
Volvo Cars is currently conducting wide-ranging and thorough analysis of a variety of safety scenarios for cars with electric power. Through advanced automatic monitoring of battery status and by encapsulating the battery and protecting it effectively in a collision, the result is a world-class safety level.
“A holistic, human centric approach and real-life traffic conditions are always the starting-point for our safety work. Based on our massive database with input from actual road incidents and accidents, we know where the focus must lie in everyday traffic conditions. The solutions we have developed for the V60 Plug-in Hybrid take into account the situations that are unique to this type of car,” says Jan Ivarsson.
Volvo Car Corporation is using its unique know-how from actual traffic conditions to carry out detailed testing and verification. This test procedure also includes the general requirements and protocols of the industry’s safety institutes.
When analyzing traffic situations from a safety perspective, the engineers use a model that illustrates the sequence of events during the whole driving phase. The process is divided into five phases: from the normal driving situation to after the accident has occurred.
All safety systems in the Volvo V60 will also be available in the plug-in hybrid version. However, electric power also adds new possible safety scenarios to the overall picture and these too must be dealt with. Volvo’s safety experts have meticulously analyzed the five accident sequence phases and developed unique solutions for the battery and for protection of the occupants as necessary.
1. Normal driving: An advanced monitoring system keeps watch and ensures that each cell maintains the correct voltage level and optimal operating temperature by regulating the cooling system. This is of significance to safety as well as for battery capacity. In the event of any deviation, the battery is automatically shut down as a preventive measure.
2. Conflict: The battery pack adds weight that can create new conditions for the vehicle’s dynamics and alter the car’s behavior, for instance in fast avoidance maneuvers. The Volvo V60 braking system can handle the increased mass, and DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) helps the driver contain the situation.
3. Avoidance: If a frontal collision is imminent and the driver is acting too late to brake the car, the V60 Plug-in Hybrid can activate automatic systems such as Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and City Safety to help avoid or reduce the effects of a collision.
4. Collision: In order to reduce the effects of a collision, the safety experts have focused on protecting all electrical components.
The rear structure has been modified to ensure a controlled deformation that helps protect the battery pack, which is located under the load floor. Steel beams and other parts of the structure are reinforced. The battery pack is also sturdily encapsulated.
The electrical system in the V60 Plug-in Hybrid is monitored by two systems: