Government closes Volt probe, says car is safe

DETROIT — The government ended its safety investigation into the Chevrolet Volt on Friday after concluding that the Volt and other electric cars don’t pose a greater fire risk than gasoline-powered cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began studying the Volt last June after a fire broke out in one of the cars three weeks after it was crashed as part of safety testing. Two other fires occurred later related to separate safety tests, and NHTSA opened an official investigation into the vehicle on Nov. 25.

The agency and General Motors Co. know of no fires in real-world crashes.
GM and federal safety officials say they believe the fires were caused by coolant leaking from damaged plastic casing around the batteries after side-impact collisions. The coolant caused an electrical short, which sparked battery fires seven days to three weeks after the crashes.

GM announced earlier this month that it will add steel plates to about 12,000 existing Volts to protect the batteries in the event of a crash. The company has sold around 8,000 Volts and 4,000 are still for sale. GM is repairing the vehicles for free. NHTSA didn’t order the recall, as it sometimes does after a safety investigation.

GM said Friday that NHTSA’s decision to close the investigation is consistent with the results of its own internal testing.

It said the steel plates will provide additional protection and minimize fire risk in the days and weeks after a crash.

NHTSA said Friday that it “continues to believe that electric vehicles show great promise as a safe and fuel-efficient option,” and that based on available data, electric cars don’t appear to be riskier than gas-powered ones.

But the agency said electric cars do have some specialized components, and the agency has developed guidelines for firefighters and other responders on how to handle electric cars after a crash.

15 Comments

  1. Dollar

    Now that is surprising news.

    #1
  2. tboyinhouston

    Good news for the Volt. Better news is GM is the world’s best selling car company. It was a great decision to bail them out when the government did. All those jobs saved, from the dealerships to parts producers to the plants to everything involved in the auto industry.

    #2
  3. hometown_fan

    Is this a surprise? GM, Government Motors, is bailed out by the government, our government attacks Toyota & Honda, but finds no problem with their car company. Something does not pass the smell test. I’m not a fan of Japan, nor our present government. Let’s get this corruption fixed in November.

    #3
  4. George

    Who ever wrote the lead in the Chronical for this must have stock in Ford or one of the other car makers. It sounds like they feel the car is unsafe. Didn’t take into account the incident happened several DAYS after the damage to the car. Not like a gas powered one that blows up on impact. :)

    #4
  5. iwontletgo

    Big surprise…big government bails out a corrupt corporation and now covers up the car that they subsidized….what a rip off….Chevy would have to pay me to drive one of their vehicles…the crappiest vehicles in the world.

    #5
  6. Mortimer

    How many gasoline cars blow up on impact? You are kidding (I hope). We are decades away from electric vehicles being manufactured and operated at savings to consumers.

    #6
  7. disheveled1

    That is just one problem with those cars and many more to come.Go ahead and buy one for the price.If electricity was free you would never recover the cost.

    #7
  8. morphy

    tboyinhouston is another UNION BO lover. Gov Motors gives a thumbs up to its own product. No Surprise there.

    #8
  9. Flippy

    GM and the Volt are both worthless. GM will still go under in the long run just taking out tax dollars with it.

    #9
  10. TXSFRED

    Yes, I consider anything that is a fire risk safe. That is why I store GASOLINE in my house, not the backyard outbuilding. Anybody else think your Government, who invested YOUR money in the unions of GOVERNMENT MOTORS, is protecting THEIR investment?

    #10
  11. Dalton

    @Mortimer
    Read closer, they don’t blow up on impact, but rather short out and catch fire days later.

    Seen several gasoline cars catch fire within minutes, even seconds, after impact. None ever actually “blow up”, you’ve been watching too much Hollywood.

    #11
  12. kegger

    Let’s see if the Secret Service allows Michelle “Kobe beef burger with cheese and bacon” to drive one to Target for another photo-op.

    #12
  13. Diogenes

    Of course the Feds say it is safe. They have a vested interest in cars from Government Motors.

    #13
  14. Art Vandeley

    Government Motors can keep their overpriced car that will hit my ever rising electricity bill. 30 miles on a charge…….. no thanks.

    #14
  15. GM came out with a fix for it because it was a public relations issue, but from an engineering viewpoint there really wasn’t a problem with the car considering the conditions of the test needed to create a fire.

    #15