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Battery Fire Investigation Closed – But Volt’s Problems May Not Yet be Over

GM CEO to testify before Congress.

by on Jan.23, 2012

A NHTSA investigation into possible problems with the Chevy Volt battery pack has been closed.

The Chevrolet Volt got a clean bill of health, last Friday, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closing its investigation into potential problems with the plug-in hybrid’s battery pack – but that doesn’t mean General Motors’ problems with the Volt are over, as a Congressional hearing is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.

The Volt controversy stems from a fire that occurred last spring, weeks after one of the battery cars went through a federal crash test.  A second Volt battery pack caught fire after being tested in November.  That triggered an investigation by the NHTSA – as well as hearings by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, California Republican and committee chairman Darryl Issa contending that the government agency initially tried to cover up the original fire.


Meanwhile, GM, noting that there have been no real-world reports of battery-related fires, nonetheless announced on January 5 that it will make a number of small but significant modifications to further reduce the likelihood of problems with the battery pack.


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.