Volt Safety Enhancements Explained
In less than two months time since the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began its investigation of the cause(s) of delayed fires in several of its crash-tested Chevrolet Volts, General Motors executives today announced that the company had engineered four new structural enhancements to the battery housing, which should virtually eliminate the possibility of a delayed fire caused by leaking coolant fluids and resultant electrical short circuits.
The official GM press release is available here, which spells out the modifications and shows where the structural enhancements will be implemented. These improvements will be made both to the 7,700+ Chevy Volts currently on the road, as well as all future production models.
Mary Barra and Mark Reuss emphasized that the changes will not effect the actual battery or its component cells, the latter manufactured by LG Chem. They stressed that LG's cells were extensively tested and subjected to manifold abuses without incident. The cells and assembled battery pack were subjected to some 25,000 hours of testing at GM's Warren, Michigan battery lab, one of the largest and most modern in existence.
They also noted that since deliveries of the car began just over a year ago, owners have put 20 million miles on the car without incident. No cars in the 'real world' have experienced the kind of damage to which NHTSA subjected its test cars, which EV World recounted in The Volt Fires You Never Heard About, a Current's commentary that GM spokesperson Rob Peterson recently told us was "spot on."
The accompany MP3 audio features the remarks first of Ms. Barry and then GM's North American president Mark Reuss. Click either of the two embedded MP3 players in the right hand column to listen to the 11:30 recording provided by General Motors.