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PHOTO CAPTION: Chevrolet Volt side crash test. Both NHTSA and IIHS gave the car their top safety ratings.

Volt Fires Not Seen Impacting Electric Car Sales

Conservative seized on post-crash test fire as political cudgel, while Volt supporters characterize them as a modest setback rather than a disaster.

Published: 29-Dec-2011

You might fear for the future of any car whose battery sparked, smoldered, or burst into flames during government safety tests.

That's what happened to the Chevy Volt, a plug-in electric/gasoline hybrid touted as GM's leading response to popular demand for cars that consume less gasoline and emit fewer greenhouse gases than the automaker's thirstier conventional models.

Damage to its battery was blamed for a fire in the vehicle in May 2011, three weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crashed the car in a test designed to measure its ability to protect passengers from a side-impact collision.

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