Safety Tip: GM Fixes Volt Fire Issue

Monday, January 9, 2012 @ 04:01 PM gHale

General Motors is now modifying its Chevrolet Volt plug-in car to eliminate the possibility its batteries can catch on fire hours or days after a serious side-impact crash.

It turns out battery coolant could leak on an electronic board, causing the fire, GM said. Officials discovered the leaks in tests where they rotated a Volt until inverted. Only a few cupfuls of coolant ended up spilling out.

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To fix it, GM will modify the car to strengthen the protection around the battery. It will only add a few pounds. “It is a structural reinforcement that distributes the load,” said GM’s Mary Barra.

GM’s North American chief Mark Reuss said the battery itself is safe and doesn’t need modification. He said only 250 owners asked GM for loaners or to have their car bought back. GM has sold more than 8,000 Volts, which can travel 25 miles or more on electric power alone before a backup gas engine kicks in.

This move is a “customer satisfaction” action and GM will not consider it a recall.

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