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Chevy To ‘Call Back’ 8000 Volts; Structural Safety Changes

Chevy Volts being called back
(photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

It’s not a recall, but a “call back.”  GM is notifying Volt owners to return their vehicle to the dealer for safety modifications to the battery compartment that will make it safer in case of a crash.

The modifications are coming on the heels of a series of battery fires that occured in NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) tests in 2011.  At least three Volts had their battery catch fire post-crash following tests.  NHTSA began an investigation after a Volt caught fire three weeks after a crash test.  The 400 pound T-shaped Volt battery unit had leaked coolant, causing a short that then resulted in a fire.  GM says draining the coolant from the battery unit after a crash would have prevented the short, but officials acknowledged they didn’t tell NHTSA officials to do that.  GM also acknowledged there was no standard procedure for what do to with the battery unit post crash, until after the June test fire.   Standard procedure now will be to send out a team to drain the unit properly once GM receives word of a Volt crash via OnStar.   No incidents or fires with the battery have been reported by consumers or drivers–the only fires occured after crash testing at the NHTSA lab.

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