GM Middle East trains UAE Civil Defense on EV safety

GM Middle East holds first-responder trainings with UAE Civil Defense to advance electric vehicle safety
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates – In anticipation of its scale up in commercialization of its Ultium-based battery platform electric vehicles, and as part of its effort to ensure market readiness and customer safety, General Motors – GM Middle East has launched the regional first-responder training with the UAE Civil Defense, with more markets to follow.

UAE Civil Defense train about EV safety

The hands-on training course focused on the education of emergency service providers, through guidance and best practice sharing on how to effectively support and handle emergency situations involving electric vehicles.

A specialized ‘Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) – First Responders Training’ was held aimed at equipping dedicated first responders with essential skills to effectively handle BEVs during emergencies, particularly those utilizing GM’s Ultium battery platform. The session saw the participation of 29 dedicated first responders, accompanied by the Brigadier General in the General Command of Civil Defense of UAE, Salam Mohamad Allay Al Naqbi.

With plans to introduce a broad suite of Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac electric vehicles in the coming years, GM-led education efforts will contribute to enabling mass adoption and support those who play a vital role in the responsible deployment of electrified technology. Guided by seasoned experts from GM Middle East’s Customer Care and Aftersales team, the workshop prepared participants with a combination of unique material and hands-on experiences to help maintain safety while interacting with EVs during the performance of their duties on-ground during emergencies.

Moreover, the UAE Civil Defense’s continued commitment to undertaking the training, directly enhances the safety of BEV users, as rapid and informed responses during accidents or emergencies can make a significant difference when it comes to saving lives and minimizing damages.

Talking to the significance of the partnership, Sajed Sbeih, Director of Customer Care and Aftersales at GM Africa and Middle East said: “We are honored to host UAE’s Civil Defense for our global ‘Battery Electric Vehicles – First Responders Training’. This marks a milestone in our path to scaling up our Battery Electric vehicle plans, and safety education is a foundation of our readiness to serve our customers and support stakeholders to ensure their safety during emergencies. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the UAE Civil Defense and all participants for pushing positive change and ensuring public safety as we drive toward a cleaner, brighter electrified future.”

GM’s EV First Responder Training effort is an education and outreach program designed to offer emergency responders key information about battery electric vehicle technology, dispel misconceptions and share important industry best practices for handling electric and electrified (hybrid) vehicles safely in multiple situations. For example, many people believe water is dangerous around an EV battery, when in fact a large volume of water is the recommended method to suppress a lithium-ion battery fire.

EV safety doesn’t begin at the point of a collision. While gas- and diesel-powered vehicles share many similar crash safety aspects with electrified vehicles, GM’s clean-sheet approach to EV design with its Ultium-based vehicles like the GMC HUMMER EV and Cadillac LYRIQ means high voltage wiring is routed out of reach of passengers, along with other benefits including a much lower center of gravity than internal combustion vehicles, which may lower the risk of rollovers. Additionally, unlike home electronics, vehicles are developed with isolated electrical circuits to help reduce the risk of a current returning to ground.

Before customers purchase a new vehicle, GM engineers put them through rigorous testing procedures which includes real-world and virtual testing, including battery pack immersion testing and vehicle splash testing in water to simulate floods and test seals and other isolation measures. During vehicle development and testing, engineers evaluate battery module structures and validate systems that automatically disconnect a vehicle’s high voltage circuit.

GM is also dedicated to teaching first and second responders how to approach an emergency scene with as much information as possible, including information from OnStar’s Advisors. OnStar is GM’s pioneering in-vehicle technology that is backed by human advisors, enabled by the touch of the OnStar button in GM vehicles for any situation, especially emergencies facilitate the immediate connection with the Police Departments during a crash. The important information OnStar provides also allows for public safety officials to triage the situation appropriately and provide first responders with what they need to respond safely and effectively on-scene.

With an increasing 70 percent of consumer interest in EVs in UAE, as found in a recent survey commissioned by General Motors and conducted by Morning Consult, GM is taking steps to enhance EV readiness in the UAE, and the region at large. Underpinned by this new era of mobility, GM is significantly expanding its global efforts to educate public safety, fire, and emergency service providers, to reach collective regional sustainability goals and further its own vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.