To address potential concerns from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as well as provide added security to owners, Chevrolet recently announced a number of structural enhancements to the Chevy Volt, all geared toward reducing the possibility of vehicle fires occurring in the days or weeks following a severe crash.
According to Car Dealerships Marysville WA, the issue first arose last year, when a Volt that had gone through NHTSA crash testing caught fire three weeks afterward, while in a storage lot. The organization then opened a “preliminary evaluation” in November 2011, after another fire broke out six days following a NHTSA lab test on a separate Volt battery pack.
However, GM is quick to point out that the Volt was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and no Volt owners have experienced anything similar to the NHTSA issue despite having collectively driven almost 20 million miles in Chevy’s extended-range electric vehicle in 2011. Further, the changes don’t affect the batteries themselves, which have successfully and safely undergone the equivalent of 25 years of operation in GM testing.
That’s a sentiment seconded by Mary Barra, GM senior vice president of Global Product Development, who said: “The Volt has always been safe to drive. Now, we will go the extra mile to ensure our customers’ peace of mind in the days and weeks following a severe crash.”
According to Chevrolet Dayton, modifications to the Volt will include:
- Bolstering the vehicle’s safety structure for added battery-pack protection in the event of side impacts.
- Adding a sensor to the battery-coolant system to monitor coolant levels.
- Installing a tamper-resistant bracket to the battery-coolant reservoir, helping to prevent owners from overfilling it.
In Chevy’s own testing in December, these changes did the job by preserving the battery pack’s integrity and preventing coolant from leaking after severe impacts. According to Bremerton Used Car Dealers, the Volt’s manufacturing process already has been updated to include these enhancements, while current owners will be notified individually in the near future as regards adding the modifications to their vehicles.
“We’re focused on one thing right now: doing what’s right by our customers,” said GM North America President Mark Reuss. “We’ll live up to our commitment to make sure our customers are delighted with their purchase.”