Case Closed: NHTSA Officially Halts Chevrolet Volt Battery Fire Investigation

By Joel Arellano | January 20, 2012
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a statement today that it has closed its investigation of battery fires in the 2012 Chevrolet Volt. The federal agency first became concerned late last year when one of its Chevy Volt test vehicles ignited at its Wisconsin testing facility. Subsequent testing revealed the battery to be the cause, but only under certain specific conditions, that is, leaving the crash test vehicle alone for weeks with battery still charged and engine fluids undrained. Suffice it to say, this hasn't happened in the real world. Though the NHTSA opened an investigation, it joined Chevy parent company General Motors to reassure Americans the Volt is still a safe vehicle, posing no more risk than a standard gasoline-powered vehicle. The non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also stated it found the Volt to be safe. GM also provided loaner vehicles to Chevrolet Volt owners during the investigation and even offered to buy back the hybrid electric car. Only a handful of owners took the offers, according to the automaker. Earlier this month, GM held a press conference announcing it would perform certain "enhancements" on current and future Volt vehicles to prevent battery fires. The enhancements include more shielding around the Volt's battery cage unit and the addition of a battery coolant reservoir sensor. Today, the NHTSA announced it is satisfied with the enhancements, writing that "…no discernible defect trend exists and that the vehicle modifications recently developed by General Motors reduce the potential for battery intrusion from side impacts." GM reiterated the NHTSA announcement in a subsequent press release and gave thanks for Volt customers and owners as well. Automotive.com's take: The coverage of the Chevrolet Volt battery fires was extraordinary in speed and depth even in this age of the Internet. What do you think of the NHTSA's response? What about GM's actions? Let us know in the comments below. Source: NHTSA, General Motors/Chevrolet
  • 2012 Chevrolet Volt Front Left Charging Station2
 
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joela
joela

Details are vague, Ralph.

John Dumont
John Dumont

OK, A govt. agency investigating Govt. Motors. I can sleep soundly with that conclusion!

Richard
Richard

The NHTSA did the right thing, and discontinued the investigation of the Volt. Chevy fixed what had to be fixed. Did Toyota ever solve the unintended acceleration problem? I don`t think there has been any conclusion in that investigation.

Blackburn @ OEM Wheels
Blackburn @ OEM Wheels

I think that if this were any other manufacturer other than one the government is invested in, this would still be on going. Toyota had accusations about accelerator issues that could never be duplicated but look at what happened there. The CEO had to appear before Congress. With GM it's just a quick "oh we'll fix that" and it gets swept under the rugs. Where is the media to hold them accountable?

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