General Motors (GM) announced today that they have made enhancements to the Chevy Volt which will help protect against the possibility of an electrical fire happening after a severe crash. The announcement comes just a day after GM announced that they missed their sales goals for the Chevy Volt last year.
CP first began reporting about the concern of a post crash Chevy Volt fire hazard just over six weeks ago. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a Chevy Volt which had undergone a test crash caught on fire three weeks after the test crash, while the car was being stored in the testing facility’s parking lot. In further testing, the NHTSA was able to replicate the incident.
GM responded quickly to the NHTSA’s notice of investigation. While no post crash Chevy Volt fire has ever been reported in actual real-life crashes, GM offered loaner cars to any Chevy Volt owner who was concerned about the safety risk. They even went as far as to offer to buy back Chevy Volts from owners who feared for their safety or were dissatisfied with the car.
In today’s announcement, GM says they will: “Strengthen an existing portion of the Volt’s vehicle safety structure to further protect the battery pack in a severe side collision; Add a sensor in the reservoir of the battery coolant system to monitor coolant levels; (and) add a tamper-resistant bracket to the top of the battery coolant reservoir to help prevent potential coolant overfill.”
According to the company, they conducted four crash tests with the above modifications, and “There was no intrusion into the battery pack and no coolant leakage in any of the tests.”
GM said that Chevy Volt owners will be notified when modifications are available for their individual car. The changes are also being incorporated into the manufacturing process.
The NHTSA is continuing the investigation and testing GM’s solution, however they did say that the changes GM is making “should address the issue.”