On Thursday, General Motors released their plan to make enhancement to the battery coolant system and vehicle structure in the Opel Ampera and Chevrolet Volt. Their goal is to reduce the risk of electric fires occurring due to vehicle crashes.
Mark Reuss, president of GM North America states “We have made the Volt even safer,” during a recent conference call with the media. He continued by saying, “We will continue on the road to rewriting automotive history with it. You will be missing an opportunity if you don’t consider the Volt.”
Shortly after the statement made by General Motors, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted on their website that the agency “has not concluded the (Volt) investigation and is continuing to gather and assess information on the post-crash fire risk in these vehicles.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) statement they continued to say “based on the work that NHTSA has already completed — under the observation of General Motors and in close consultation with experts from the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense — it appears that both battery intrusion and coolant leakage must be present to enable post-crash fire in the Volt.”
While the NHTSA could not claim being aware of any fires that happened in real world crashes involving the Chevrolet Volt, they were aware that laboratory crash tests did show known cases of fire after controlled crash tests. They have launched a federal investigation into the electric vehicle’s lithium-ion batteries currently being used. This investigation was prompted after a Volt that was being stored in the NHTSA testing center garage caught fire.
While these investigations can sometimes lead to recalls, General Motors has no plans of recalling the Chevrolet Volt at this time. Reuss is assured that the investigation will have a positive outcome and feels there is no need to begin recall plans. He says that General Motors will stop at nothing to make sure customers are satisfied.