General Motors announced Thursday it would call back thousands of Chevrolet Volts to enhance the vehicle structure and battery coolant system that, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), will further protect the battery from the possibility of an electrical fire occurring days or weeks after a severe crash.
The NHTSA opened its evaluation on Nov. 25 following a severe-impact lab test on a battery pack that resulted in an electrical fire six days later, according to GM. Based on their work, NHTSA said it “appears that both battery intrusion and coolant leakage must be present to enable post-crash fire in the Volt.” The volt is a hybrid gas-electrical car, which went on the market last year.
The agency then crashed a Volt with GM’s newly designed steel reinforcement device in a side-pole impact test on Dec. 22. The results showed no intrusion into the vehicle’s battery compartment, and no coolant leakage was apparent. “Preliminary results of the crash test indicate the remedy proposed by GM today should address the issue of battery intrusion,” a press release said.
“The Volt has always been safe to drive,” said Mary Barra, GM senior vice president of Global Product Development, on GM’s website. “Now, we will go the extra mile to ensure our customers’ peace of mind in the days and weeks following a severe crash.”