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  (Source: gawkerassets.com)
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."

Sources: General Motors Co., The Detroit News



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RE: "This isn't just a Volt issue..."
By quiksilvr on 11/29/2011 2:07:08 PM , Rating: 3
You are wrong in many many ways.

Tesla:
The ESS contains 6,831 lithium ion cells arranged into 11 "sheets" connected in series; each sheet contains 9 "bricks" connected in series; each "brick" contains 69 cells connected in parallel (11S 9S 69P). The cells are of the 18650 form-factor commonly found in laptop batteries. The pack is designed to prevent catastrophic cell failures from propagating to adjacent cells, even when the cooling system is off. Coolant is pumped continuously through the ESS both when the car is running and when the car is turned off if the pack retains more than a 90% charge. The coolant pump draws 146 watts.


RE: "This isn't just a Volt issue..."
By tng on 11/30/2011 9:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The pack is designed to prevent catastrophic cell failures from propagating to adjacent cells...
So what you are saying is that Tesla took the unstable nature of the batteries into account in their design.

Again, seems GM design or assembly has fallen short. This is not really a surprise, but for something that they have hyped so much and took so much federal money for development, you think that they would have done a better job.


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