GM Offers Loaner Vehicles For Scared Volt Owners
November 29, 2011 11:20 AM
The recent battery fires caused by NHTSA crash tests have some Volt owners worried about their safety
General Motors' Chevrolet Volt has had some battery issues lately that need to be ironed out with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but until those troubles are resolved, GM is offering a Volt owner loan program.
Earlier this year, the Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle, underwent a series of crash tests at a NHTSA facility in Wisconsin. Three weeks after a side-impact crash test on May 12,
a Volt caught fire
while parked at the testing facility. The incident prompted the NHTSA to launch an investigation of the safety of the Chevrolet Volt and lithium batteries.
Just two weeks ago, the
NHTSA conducted three more side-impact tests with three separate Volts
over the course of November 16, 17 and 18. The November 16 test went well with no complications, but the November 17 test resulted in a fire one week after the test. The November 18 test resulted in smoke and sparks emitting from the battery.
The test results have caused Volt customers to worry about their safety when using the EV. According to
The Detroit News
, GM has only received about 10 calls from Volt owners regarding the safety issues, but none of them have requested a new vehicle.
But that isn't stopping GM from offering a Volt owner loan program anyway in order to ease the minds of its customers. The new program will allow concerned Volt owners to contact their Volt advisor and obtain a replacement GM vehicle until the Volt issues are dealt with.
"A vehicle loan program of this nature is well beyond the norm for a preliminary investigation, and it underlines our
commitment to the vehicle and its owners
," said Mark Reuss, president of GM North America. "These steps are the right ones to take regardless of any immediate impact on our operations."
In addition to the Volt owner loan program, GM has announced that it is working with the NHTSA on possible changes to better protect the battery pack in the event of an accident. If a battery pack is pierced by steel or another ferrous metal, the hot lithium will cause a fire if not handled properly or drained.
"We're working with NHTSA so we all have an understanding about these risks and how they can be avoided in the future," said Mary Barra, senior vice president of GM Global Product Development. "This isn't just a Volt issue. We're already leading a joint electric vehicle activity with Society of Automotive Engineers and other automotive companies to address new issues, such as this protocol of depowering batteries after a severe crash."
General Motors Co.
The Detroit News
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