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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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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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