General Motors will modify its Chevrolet Volt plug-in car in order to eliminate the possibility that its batteries can catch on fire hours or days after a serious side-impact crash. GM calls it a “customer satisfaction” action, which it says doesn’t make this action a recall. According to the automaker, battery coolant could leak on an electronic board, causing a fire. The leaks were discovered by GM in tests in which a Volt was rotated until it was inverted. According to GM, only a small amount of coolant, a few cupfuls, were involved.
To fix the problem, GM says it will modify the cars to strengthen the protection around the battery. This will only add a few pounds of weight to the car, according to GM, which says “it is a structural reinforcement that distributes the load.” According to GM’s North American chief Mark Reuss, the battery itself is safe and won’t need modification. He says only about 250 owners asked GM for loaners or to have their car bought back. GM has sold more than 8,000 Volts, which can travel 25 miles or more on electric power alone before a backup gas engine kicks in.
Hopefully, this is a problem that can be fixed. It appears NHTSA believes it can since the agency has closed its preliminary investigation. NHTSA has issued some guidelines for firefighters on how to deal with fires involving electrical cars.
Source: USA Today
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