Chevy Volt Fire - The Chevy Volt’s lithium-ion battery may be great for a lot of things — like low gasoline-dependency, for instance — but when it comes to government regulated crash tests, it’s proving to be a fire hazard.
As the story goes, back in May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put a hybrid car through standard side-impact crash testing, and in doing so, “the vehicle’s battery was damaged and the coolant line was ruptured.” The big issue? The car went up in flames multiple weeks later, seemingly as direct result.
That event prompted the NHTSA to further study the safety of the batteries in the period after a crash, which culminated in more tests performed just over a week ago to find out if they would prove volatile again — simply put, they did.
The group recently explained that it’s “concerned that damage to the Volt’s batteries as part of three tests that are explicitly designed to replicate real-world crash scenarios have resulted in fire.
Because of this development, the NHTSA (with assistance from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and General Motors itself) has officially launched a formal investigation into the GM Volt to ensure that its current battery implementation isn’t a safety defect.
Despite the announcement, the agency notes that of all the Volt cars currently zipping along the streets, there has yet to be a to be a similar incident out on the open road. The NHTSA further clarified that there’s not yet any reason for current owners to worry, so long as they haven’t been in an accident with their vehicle. Overall, GM describes the whole investigation as “procedural” at this point, stating that both GM has been working with the NHTSA for over six months on a “broader program designed to induce battery failure after extreme situations.”
Consumers are advised to take the same actions they would in a crash involving a gasoline-powered vehicle - exit the vehicle safely or await the assistance of an emergency responder if they are unable to get out on their own, move a safe distance away from the GM hybrid car, and notify the authorities of the crash.
Emergency responders should also use copious amounts of water on the Chevy Volt if fire is present or suspected and, keeping in mind that fire can occur for a considerable period after a crash, should proceed accordingly.