Dear Wheego Enthusiast:
Medics, firefighters briefed on electric cars
Brian Dean trains First Responders in the Cayman Islands. Photo: Brent Fuller, Cay Compass
The Cay Compass covered the training with the following article:
Our Tech Support Manager, Brian Dean, recently travelled to the Cayman Islands to provide EV training to First Responders.
Local paramedics, firefighters and police met with electric car company representatives this week to discuss concerns about electric vehicle safety. Cayman Islands Emergency Medical Services Director Stephen Duval said Tuesday that there were a lot of “myths and unknowns” about electric vehicles that had worried some emergency responders who will have to deal with any accidents involving those cars. However, he told the group that the concerns were really no different that those associated with a gas-powered vehicle.
“It’s just a standard vehicle chassis,” Mr. Duval said.
Joining about 30 emergency responders in the government administration building Tuesday, were representatives of Hazard Management Cayman Islands, as well as representatives of Smith Electric Vehicles and Wheego Electric Cars. Wheego Life vehicles are one of the models being sold by Cayman Automotive since the government legalized electric vehicles for use on Cayman Islands roads last month. Wheego Technical Support Manager Brian Dean told the assembled group that there were essentially three ways to shut off the lithium ion battery that powers the economy-sized electric vehicle in case of an accident. The easiest way is to simply turn off the ignition switch, Mr. Dean said, but he admitted that’s not always an option. In the case of a serious, high speed collision, the battery power should just switch off anyway.
“On the left-hand side [of the car under the hood] … there’s an inertia switch,” Mr. Dean said. “It’s very similar to a fuelled car with gasoline, if this car is in a collision that has an impact that’s of great enough significance in a gasoline car to trigger a shut-down of the fuel system, it will shut down the battery system.” There’s also a service disconnect switch located at the front of the vehicle. Concern among emergency services appears to be that the lithium ion battery pack contained in the Wheego is quite large, stretching almost the full length of the vehicle under the hood, with about five inches of space on either side. There’s also a standard 12-volt battery under the hood, as there would be in a gas-powered vehicle, to run things such as the headlights, windshield wipers and radio. In crash tests done at 30 miles-per-hour, Mr. Dean said the Wheego’s lithium battery pack sustained no rupture in its protective casing. However, in situations where the pack has been ruptured and there is a safety concern, he advised emergency responders to handle it like they would any other battery or power cell.
“If you believe there’s a breach of the case, you’d want an insulated glove and you’d want to not put an item such as a screwdriver or some other piece of metal over those two posts to cause a direct short on the battery,” Mr. Dean said. “That’s not different than any other car battery.
There were also some questions regarding the effects of water on the electric vehicle’s operation, as Cayman is generally a humid and rainy environment for at least half the year.
“The wettest environment we’ve had cars in right now is Seattle and we’ve had cars there for two or three years,” Mr. Dean said.
There have been problems with vehicle encoders going out because of water getting into them, but Mr. Dean said they haven’t actually had any motors get “messed up” there. The Wheego owner’s manual states that the vehicle should not be driven into more than 12 to 14 inches of standing water. Emergency crews wondered how that might work out in Cayman, where roads often flood during heavy rains.
“The battery pack is sealed … but I know sometimes in Cayman, [standing] water can go from 12 inches to 4 feet because of the way people drive,” said John Felder of Cayman Automotive. “We will be monitoring that.”
Wheego dealer MC Electric Vehicles will display a Wheego at the Seattle Auto Show, November 14-18. The event will be held at the CenturyLink Field Event Center. For hours and ticket information, visit the show’s FAQ page. Look for Wheego and MC Electric Vehicles in West Hall W-14.
What can you fit in your Wheego?
The Wheego Whip and LiFe have 40 cubic feet of storage space in the back! That’s enough to…
Fit a rocking chair driver Jan Ferguson found at a local flea market (Venice, CA)…
…Haul driver Scott Keith’s replacement tractor tires out to the tractor, and use the Wheego LiFe as a power source for the repairs (Covington, Georgia)…
…And fit Scott’s fold-up electric bike that he bought from Electric Autos…
…and finally, fit Mr. Botteron’s walker (Heber Springs, AR).
Looper the Movie –
We loaned two Wheego’s to the set of the new Bruce Willis movie, Looper.
We haven’t heard yet whether we made the final edit - let us know if you spot a Wheego in the background!
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The Wheego Team