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GM is looking to pull in all 8,000 Volts off the road as well as the 4,400 for sale

General Motors (GM) is launching a customer service campaign, which is similar to a recall, on 8,000 Chevrolet Volts running on U.S. roads in an effort to address possible battery fire issues.

In May 2011, Chevrolet's plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (EV), the Volt, caught fire three weeks after a side-impact crash test conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Volt was parked in a NHTSA testing facility in Wisconsin. The fire provoked an investigation into the safety of lithium batteries.

Later in November 2011, NHTSA conducted three more side-impact crash tests on three separate Volts. Two out of three ended up sparking or catching fire while the third remained normal.

GM took action right away, saying it will make any changes necessary to keep drivers safe. The automaker even offered loaner vehicles to Volt drivers that didn't feel safe in their vehicles, and said it'd buy Volts back from owners that requested to sell.

Now, GM is advising Volt owners to bring their EVs to the dealerships for a customer service campaign, which is like a recall but without the bad publicity attached. There are currently 8,000 Volts on U.S. roads and another 4,400 in showrooms for sale.



Dealers will address the battery issues by adding steel to the plate that protects the EV's T-shaped, 400-pound battery. This will prevent penetration into the battery in case of an auto accident, which will ultimately stop coolant from leaking. It will also evenly distribute the force of a crash.

NHTSA already tested Volts with the new added steel around the battery in December, and found that it was the right fix for the problem. However, it will continue to monitor the car for another week to make sure that it doesn't catch fire later on like the Volt back in May managed to do.

"The preliminary results of the crash test indicate the remedy proposed by General Motors today should address the issue," said NHTSA.

"We have tested the Volt's battery systems through [the equivalent of] 25 years of operation," said Mary Barra, GM's vice president for global product development. "We're taking these steps to provide peace of mind to our customers."

Sources: InsideBayArea, CNN



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All that fraud and not enough engineering
By pcfxer on 1/6/2012 10:17:28 AM , Rating: 0
I'm an Engineer!

Why the hell is this NOT a recall? Toyota was forced by the Federal Gov't to issue recalls for floor mats because owners are incompetent to locate the mat properly. I knew the Fed was crap then and only later did it become public that the Toyota-hate was just that; a way to convince people bailing GM was a good idea.

Last time I checked spontaneous combustion was in need of ABSOLUTELY ever power and process to be initiated. This is a matter of ETHICS and SAFETY, I'm getting in contact with the NHTSA and whomever I need to.




RE: All that fraud and not enough engineering
By GotThumbs on 1/6/2012 11:14:16 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps your not a very smart Engineer....

Here's a simple explaination...

Because the floor mat issue with Toyota was CAUSING accidents.

The issue with the Volt is only for cars involved in collisions....and the only examples caught fire 3 WEEKS AFTER the collision.

Think! McFly.....Think!


By Reclaimer77 on 1/6/2012 11:26:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because the floor mat issue with Toyota was CAUSING accidents.


Allegedly.


RE: All that fraud and not enough engineering
By Keeir on 1/6/2012 12:13:44 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously not involved with safety.

No product is 100% safe. A recall occurs only if there is a demonstrated (through observation of engineering analysis) occurrence rate higher than some baseline threshold.

This particular Volt issue has yet to occur in the real world. This means that the original engineering analysis that predicted a lower rate than baseline threshold still holds. Therefore no mandated recall.

Toyota's issue on the other hand was repeated higher than expected cases of unintentional acceleration. 6 times between 2003-2008, Toyota was investigated to determine if there was a correctable fault. Whatever the cause (floor mats, electronics, etc), Toyota was experiencing a relatively high rate of real-world occurrence of a potential safety issue. They really should have been required to do something before the whole floor mat issue.


RE: All that fraud and not enough engineering
By Reclaimer77 on 1/6/2012 1:14:31 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
This particular Volt issue has yet to occur in the real world.


That's because there's barely any on the road! Do we even have statistics on Volt's being involved in serious side-impact collisions in the "real world"? Have there been ANY?

That's why we crash test things. I guess if you were in charge we wouldn't safety test cars and only react when something terrible happen in the "real world". Nice logic there.

quote:
Toyota's issue on the other hand was repeated higher than expected cases of unintentional acceleration.


That NOBODY, not even the NHSI, could duplicate through repeated testing in a variety of controlled experiments. Two people claiming to have been in a "runaway" Toyota have a history of filing fraudulent lawsuits to get rich quick.

Curious that you place more faith in happenstance, speculation, and hearsay than actual testing and verification.


RE: All that fraud and not enough engineering
By Keeir on 1/6/2012 2:17:02 PM , Rating: 3
Hmmmm...

I think your purposely being dense due to your dislike of Obama-->GM-->Volt.

What we know about the Volt.

If a Volt is fully charged and in a side impact crash with a much stiffer object and is then placed in a storage facility and ignored for weeks counter to the manufacturers user guide and recommendations there is a chance that it will catch fire. Of course, this is not really a reasonable test for the real world post the actual impact.

Now for the Toyota products, over 2000 reports were made between 2000-2008 over unintended acceleration for these cars. Toyota had one of the highest rates in the automobile world. Whether or not a controlled test demonstrated the situation, this large volume of reports can not be entirely in error. (Studies suggest the actual incident rate could be as much as 10 times higher than the reported rate for any given self-reported issue with automobiles)

Stuff happens in the real-world all the time that did not show up on repeated testing! I've seen this many times. System failures that absolutely should never occur, even if the system is wired differently by hand... yet some schmo somehow makes it happen. (My personal favorite was a guy caught on video using a wrench to manually advance a computer controlled actuator which had actual signage on the twist point "Only for Emergency Maintenance. Do not use during normal operation. Perform XXXXX procedure post Manual Usage." He of course didn't follow the procedure.)

Unless Toyota can pin the issue directly on a customer action that is clearly unreasonable, then Toyota needs to find a solution to the real-world problem. It doesn't matter how many tests Toyota/anyone does that show something "isn't a problem".


RE: All that fraud and not enough engineering
By Reclaimer77 on 1/6/2012 3:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If a Volt is fully charged and in a side impact crash with a much stiffer object and is then placed in a storage facility and ignored for weeks counter to the manufacturers user guide and recommendations there is a chance that it will catch fire. Of course, this is not really a reasonable test for the real world post the actual impact.


In the "real world" cars don't sit in storage for weeks after an accident. Even if they did, does that mean it's okay if a Volt catches fire and burns the storage facility down? What if it's sitting in a repair bay at the shop and it burns down because the Volt caught on fire in the middle of the night? Any number of things could happen. People don't always do the "recommended" thing with their vehicles, that doesn't mean the vehicle should be inherently faulty. If there was no issue here, why the recall at all?


RE: All that fraud and not enough engineering
By Keeir on 1/6/2012 4:47:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If there was no issue here, why the recall at all?


There is no recall yet. There is a publicity move by a company worried about over-reaction.

If I damaged the fuel system in my car, and parked it someplace sitting full of fuel, then no one would question I was in the wrong if the car/building caught on fire. In fact, I am almost positive that most manufacturers recommend not even using emergency lights or flares if you suspect your car is leaking fuel.

The NHTSA did a bone head move. They did not follow the proper procedures post-crash. This is a bone head move regardless of the automobile.


By Reclaimer77 on 1/6/2012 6:21:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If I damaged the fuel system in my car, and parked it someplace sitting full of fuel, then no one would question I was in the wrong if the car/building caught on fire. In fact, I am almost positive that most manufacturers recommend not even using emergency lights or flares if you suspect your car is leaking fuel.


You make no sense. If the "fuel system" was damaged/leaking, it would be instantly apparent.

It is NOT obviously apparent, however, if a post-wreck Volt's batteries are compromised to the point of this fault which leads to a fire sometime later.


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