Let’s cut to the chase: The Chevy Volt is as safe as any other vehicle on the road. And if something in the vehicle is going to cause a fire, it’s more likely to be its gasoline engine and associated plumbing than the groundbreaking car’s lithium-ion battery.
Still, General Motors finds itself having to defend the world’s first extended-range electric vehicle.
The controversy stems from a crash test of the Volt conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last June. Two weeks after the test, a fire started when the battery’s coolant leaked onto a circuit board. The coolant was able to reach the circuit board on top of the battery when the agency did what it calls a rotisserie test, which simulates what might happen in a rollover crash.