UPDATE 2: Chevrolet Volt Consumed By Fire, Burns To A Crisp – Cause Unknown


Burnt Chevrolet Volt - Image Via Alex Hopmann

Burnt Chevrolet Volt – Image Via Alex Hopmann

In Seattle, at the downtown Cheesecake Factory location, a Chevrolet Volt was consumed by fire in the northeast corner of the fourth floor of the parking garage located over the Cheesecake site.

***UPDATE: Volt fire case has been reopened as new details have surfaced.  Arson experts are examining the vehicle now.  Full details here.

**UPDATE: Seattle Fire Department provides us with additional details on fire involving Chevrolet Volt.  Link to new article with additional details here

Cause is unknown at this time, but the fire department responded to the call of fire sometime on Friday evening.

As of Saturday night, the burnt Volt was still in the same location, possibly pending investigation.

This is not the first Volt to catch fire in public, and surely won’t be the last, but as of yet, the Volt’s lithium-ion battery has never been the cause of fire in any Volt out in the public’s hands.

We’ve been unable to obtain additional information at this time, but we are contacting General Motors for comment.  We’ll update this story when/if GM responds and/or more information becomes available.

*UPDATE: We have a report request into the Seattle Fire Department and are awaiting response.  Seattle Police Department has kindly directed us to the proper contacts.

Approximate Location Of Volt Fire

Approximate Location Of Volt Fire

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49 Comments on "UPDATE 2: Chevrolet Volt Consumed By Fire, Burns To A Crisp – Cause Unknown"

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Cigarettes are dangerous even for cars with no gasoline.


17.3 Per Hour-

417 Daily-

12,691 Per Month-

152,300 Car Fires, US, Annually

Link Goes To National Fire Protection Agency-


Best And Apologies To All-

Thomas J. Thias




WHY do you assume this Volt had no gasoline?

Do you know ANYTHING about a Volt (apparently NOT).

Relax. He was just implying that this fire was caused by a cigarette.

Will be good to know if GM will reply or get involved?

Hey let’s start a Burnt Prius thread! Here are some nice photos of burned-up Prii that didn’t make the headline news.

Maybe if one’s a Plug-In, it’ll be headline news here! Yay!

1st gen Prius fire –


2nd gen Prius fire –


3rd gen Prius fire –


If hybrids catch fire, and it doesn’t make the evening news. Why is this non-story a story? What is it implying? Why run a piece like this BEFORE hearing back from the fire department?

What’s up guys?!

I read this site daily for news about electric vehicles. I want all the news, even if it is bad news. Thank you

Thanks! One-sided coverage helps nobody. We try to cover it all, even if it pains us to have to report a fire knowing that other sites may spin it into something negative.

But why does every fire have to be a featured story? It “sticks out” that much more for all the visitors, regardless of vehicle type. 😉

The story is noteworthy since it is the first inservice volt fire, to my knowledge.

I didn’t see any console damage, nor trunk deck discoloration, so possibly it is not due to the vehicle proper; but then again it is hard to tell from must one photo. I’m sure there will be at least 5 more articles on this car, so i’ll just wait.

It is not the first, the article itself references another Fire caused by a 12V battery when the Volt received severe damage to the back end of the car. The link is in the story.

I wonder why they have the large thing anyway. My Roadster has a 20 ah lead acid, and other than cost effectiveness, it really doesn’t even have to be this big, but its a standard part so I’m sure thats why the guys years ago chose it. Most EV’s, volts included, seem to have quite large batteries. Besides that 175 amp dc/dc converter (I have no idea why they need something so large when I have a diminutive thing in my Roadster), you’d think about a 60 amp thing would be plenty since it puts out the full output all the time, unlike a varying speed ICE. They certainly don’t use the juice to run those ultra dim projector headlights. But alot of EV’s seem to have a large auxiliary battery, and I don’t really see the point in them, since all the juice ultimately has to come from the big battery anyway. So its just useless weight. Remote controls these days don’t use that much quiescent juice, which is the only time the converter wouldn’t be running.. So it seems another reason to provide a much smaller aux battery would be it would be much less of a fire… Read more »

In the ROadster, the only other reason for the relatively “HUGE” 20 ah motorcycle battery, is that if the inverter is broke, the computer systems in the car can continue to work and run the displays so as to trouble shoot the problem. This is really the only time an extended load is placed on the bettery. When normally running, there’s almost nothing.

Seems funny that they’d put in a big battery, and a 175 amp ‘alternator replacement’ that would never be used unless they bought Clarkson’s aftermarket stuff, and everyone PAYS extra for all that uselessly oversized stuff (even the battery I’m claiming is oversized since anytime a human is near the car they could easily, efficiently turn on the dc/dc converter), when what EVERYONE HERE wants is a 6600 watt charger, some of the former posters saying they won’t buy a new volt if it doesn’t have it. hehe.

It would be interesting to hear the rationale why something, which would only be partially used in some parts of the world, or by some users who never ever frequent public charging points, and WOULD get used occassionally by everyone else, instead get 2 things in the car that EVERYONE pays for that NEVER have to be used. A proper power export feature could take power from the high voltage battery directly and skip a useless power conversion.

@EricLoveday, why you feel the need to report EV fires, and not other EV related incidents? eg: there are a number of traffic accidents that occur each month involving EVs. There is just as much news and opportunity to learn from accidents as fires.

I get the impression that your addicted to the attention that writting a hot fire related EV headline generates. Sadly, headlines like this really devalue other content that InsideEVs publishes.

Not suggesting that fires should not be reported, just that reports should have some known facts worth discussion. The lack of facts and explosive headlines are the mainstay of a tabloid, not of a respected journalism.

Hopefully the editors at InsideEVs review your guidelines on the use of explosive headlines.

Agreed, how many Zero’s got speeding tickets? How many Leaf’s were stolen? We’re there any Tesla DWI’s?

Or, should there just be a “Blotter Section” on the website that had the years’ statistics?

Because we all know that certain Troll who wants to see all the bad things related to EV’s.

Not mentioning S.T. by name.

We report EV-related accidents whenever that information becomes available to us too.

Second. If it’s evs and in the news I want to at least have the option of clicking on the story here. If I wanna keep the blinders on I’ll watch a video of he p85d kicking gas

🙁 that InsideEVs feels the need to publish rubbish headlines to draw views to a topic only FOX news would cover! 🙁 🙁

🙁 🙁 Shame on you. It’s not the car fire, and it won’t be the last. Please get over the FIRE grabbing headline only bits and move on to covering useful EV news.

KBye Thanks.

For the rest of the reported sentence
“but as of yet, the Volt’s lithium-ion battery has never been the cause of fire in any Volt out in the public’s hands.”

In over a billion miles…..

I don’t mind the reporting of early fires, but it is a real missed opportunity to hammer home just how incredibly fire “resistant” all plug-ins are turning out to be. The last national data reported had 90 combustion engine fires per billion miles with 30 from collisions. This one goes under the 90 category.

EVs have over 2 billion miles now so they are tracking an incredible safety ratio to gas cars of at least 20-to-1.

I don’t know the short articulation of such a statement, but that is the real story.

This never happens to ICE cars.


This is an ICE, or has an ICE, so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise sooner or later.

Wouldn’t surprise me if it was arson by some anti-EV person.

Or another Motor Company: Ford. 😉

That’s crazy. Clearly this was caused by climate change. 😉

There’s no such thing, haven’t you been listening to the politicians?

My thinking too. But I read in another link the arson was ruled out. How was it so easily ruled out. There are a lot of anti EV people out there with Volts targeted the most.

I actually witnessed this happen! A Toyota Mirai driver launch a molotov cocktail at it.

A hydrogen powered vehicle and an open flame? I’m surprised they both weren’t burned to a crisp.

I have personally witnessed half a dozen car fires. Once I saw one in the processes of catching on fire, oddly it was a Chevy Blazer.
Of course most of the other ones you could not tell what it was, a flaming of metal and plastic is rather nondescript. There are tens of thousands of car fires in the U.S. yearly, but hardly any of those make the news only e.v. related ones.
As a community I think it is something we will have to get used too, but not have to like. It seems once the American psyche has collectively made a decision about something, ‘electric cars catch on fire,’ or
‘all politicians are crooks,’ then that meme, whether correct or not is inculcated within our low level reactive consciousness.
Since we are not a nation of deep thinkers we just go down the path entropy.
The path that takes the least effort. Actually questioning our own thoughts, if we even have any, is just too much trouble to bother with.

Agreed to a point. I believe if accompanied by the safety statistics in every story, it will slowly diminish.

Perhaps it would be more appropriate to only post to this site if the fire had something to do with the EV technology itself.

Or perhaps not making it a featured story. Making EV fires featured stories seems to add to the sensationalization that the media does as well.

I thought feature status was created by the number of posted comments, but editor selection may be part of it.

I suppose car fires aren’t really news, and sort of agree that selecting a Volt fire, when we don’t know the cause, isn’t news either. Personally, I think the $$ gas, to $$ watts comparisons are more annoying, lately.

Since the rest is covered…

On a different note, why is the parking limited to ‘head in only’?
Are they actually going to ticket people for reverse parking? 🙂

In most states, you only have 1 license plate on the car, and it’s on the back. Head-in parking means you can easily see all the car’s plates. “You” meaning management and the police 🙂

A bit paranoid/cynical, eh? The real reason is you will notice that there is an obstruction above the rear of these spots. Think about the shape of most cars. The front is generally low but the rear of many cars like vans is high. Cars with a front that is too short at least you are more likely to notice that you are about to hit it parking head in.

FWIW Washington requires plates on the front and rear.

Yeah, but a volt (and pretty much any car) would fit just fine either way.

If you’re driving a large enough vehicle to even hit that, and you don’t realize that backing in, you probably shouldn’t be driving that vehicle 😉

A simple ‘low ceiling’ or ‘max height’ warning would convey the message much more clearly and precisely 🙂

Though if it is about plates, I guess that might be plausible.

i have been a critic of the tendency of insideevs.com to post seemingly no-content items, but i don’t think that the criticisms apply here: this isn’t a clear case of driver negligence or recklessness; this is a case where a fire occurred in an EV and the reason is currently not known. it is worth being aware of this kind of thing because it should be investigated further to determine whether the battery has a causal relationship to the fire event – it is not something that should be ignored.

i don’t see anything is this article that attempts to suggest that the battery had anything to do with the fire; the article appears to just state the facts as they are currently known – the car caught fire and there is an investigation to determine the cause. while the Volt is an EV, it would seem to me that you would want this kind of awareness for *any* car.

We make certain to only report factual information in cases such as this and to note whether or not there’s a connection to the EV-related hardware (if known).

Mitt Romney was seen in the area.


Such a non event.
As others have said …. plenty of ICE cars
going up all the time.
Many reasons even not manufacture related some of them.

but even with an ICE car, if something is going on, and it is not known why, i would think that you would at least like to be aware of that fact. this is different from many of the articles that i have seen posted here. for example, if a Tesla Model S catches fire as a result of a 100 mph collision, you’re probably going to suspect that the cause was recklessness by the driver until told otherwise (after all, the idea that a car might catch fire after being involved in a 100 mph collision isn’t particularly shocking). but here, there is no evidence of any negligence by the driver. now, an investigation might turn up that the Volt fire was due to some act of negligence by the driver, but until then, we don’t know and this could potentially be an issue with the car itself.

what would really be useful here is a follow up story once more information is known…

We intend to either update this story or post a follow-up once we’ve obtained more information. Part of the purpose of writing an article such as this is to be able to provided a link for reference to the various parties (in this instance, General Motors, Seattle Police and Seattle Fire) we reach out to so that they have something to actually read on the topic before responding.

To make the story more relatable, perhaps add a comparison of Volt fires per million miles compared to the national average?

In any event I like to see good and bad news so InsideEVs is correct to publish this.

Thanks…Yes, we’re not afraid of publishing the occasional bad too. It’s part of being balanced.

Just like Fox News! Oh wait… 😉