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GM to Make “Voluntary Enhancements” to Chevrolet Volt

Maker insists reports of post-crash test fires hasn’t hurt halo car’s image.

by on Jan.05, 2012

GM will begin modifying Volts on the assembly line immediately, with dealers modifying customer vehicles starting in February.

General Motors will make a series of “enhancements” to ensure there is no risk of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicle catching fire after a side-impact crash.  The move follows reports last month that several Volt battery packs either caught fire or smoked and sparked several weeks after aggressive crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While Mark Reuss, GM’s president of the Americas, said he couldn’t answer for the NHTSA he expressed confidence his company’s announcement will lead government safety regulators to wrap up their investigation into possible problems with the Volt battery pack.

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The updates to the Volt will not impact the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack itself but will reinforce the vehicle structure to prevent the battery coolant system from being penetrated – as happened in the NHTSA testing – while also reducing the risk coolant fluid could spill onto sensitive electronic components.

“We have made the Volt even safer,” Reuss declared during his remarks, adding that if he didn’t think the Volt was already safe “I wouldn’t allow” his own family to continue using the vehicle on a daily basis.

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Feds Step Up Investigation in Wake of New Chevy Volt Fires

New tests raise additional concerns.

by on Nov.28, 2011

NHTSA has now launched a formal investigation after an additional fire in a Chevy Volt battery pack it was crash-testing.

Already concerned about a battery fire that followed the spring crash test of a Chevrolet Volt, federal safety regulators have opened a new investigation as the result of additional fires involving Volt’s lithium-ion batteries.

Company officials have already blamed the initial incident on a failure to follow proper procedures following the crash test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and they contend the Volt is safe despite the latest fires.  But the new study could create a serious problem for the automaker as it gets ready to push for a six-fold increase in sales of the plug-in hybrid next year.

Your Trusted Source!

In a statement, GM said it has “worked closely” with the NHTSA and wasn’t surprised by the news the agency would launch a formal investigation.  But the maker also declared the volt “is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash.”

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GM, ABB Plan 2012 Test Using Volt Batteries as Smart Grid Backup

“Near-new” batteries could prevent blackouts, level alternative energy sources.

by on Jul.20, 2011

Used Chevy Volt batteries could eventually help prop up the nation's creaky electrical grid.

If all goes according to plan, General Motors will be producing tens of thousands of plug-in hybrids annually in the coming years.  So, what to do with the batteries when it comes time to sent vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt to the scrapyard?

Even after a decade of use, the lithium-ion battery pack in the typical Volt should have 70% of its capacity left, according to Pablo Valencia, GM’s senior manager for battery lifecycle management.  And that means that even as the old Volt is melted down for scrap, those batteries could find new life propping up the nation’s electrical grid.

Starting next year, GM will partner with energy systems giant ABB to begin testing the use of Volt batteries as an energy storage solution that could serve a variety of purposes from preventing blackouts to helping level out the ups-and-downs of alternative energy sources like wind and solar.

Plug In!

“With 33 batteries, I’d be able to give you an uninterruptible power supply to approximately 50 houses for up to four hours during a blackout,” explained Valencia, during a teleconference briefing from the Plug-In Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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