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Chevy Volt Problems?

Chevy Volt Problems?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested three Chevy Volt batteries last week and one of them caught fire. The other two may have overheated. They were investigating the possibility of battery problems due to an incident in May when a Volt battery caught fire three weeks after undergoing a crash safety test. Last week’s NHTSA test attempted to replicate the same conditions of the crash test that caused a Volt’s May battery fire.

In their official statement NHTSA wrote, “This past May, NHTSA crashed a Chevy Volt in an NCAP test designed to measure the vehicle’s ability to protect occupants from injury in a side  collision. During that test, the vehicle’s battery was damaged and the coolant line was ruptured. When a fire involving the test vehicle occurred more than three weeks after it was crashed, the agency concluded that the damage to the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery during the crash test led to the fire.” (Source: NHTSA)

They also said it is too soon to know if there should be a recall of any vehicles or parts. General Motors has been offering free cars on loan to concerned Chevy Volt owners. They say they will contact all Volt owners and extend the free loaner offer to them.

In various reports about the Volt it sometimes is referred to as an electric car, but it is actually a hybrid employing an electric engine to power the car, and a small gasoline engine to run a generator which charges the electric battery. The car can also run in a mode where both engines are employed using a blended power. In 2013, a Volt using an electric engine and an E-85 gasoline engine may be available, which would be good because E-85 is mainly ethanol, and it can be produced entirely in America, so using it could decrease our dependence on foreign oil and potentially boost our own economy. Ethanol has been unfairly slammed as a product that would take away corn used for food, but some ethanol is grown from a type of corn that isn’t used for human food. Also, the power output of ethanol was said to be too low to justify producing it, but this claim has been refuted.

Image Credit: Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz

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14 comments

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1:20AM PST on Dec 4, 2011

As in everything new there will be bugs to work out, but they will improve!

6:43PM PST on Dec 3, 2011

....actually chevy has offered to buy the Volts back from their owners if they're are concerned....if you read the details the tests were signficicant damage that should make anyone want to have their car checked by a mechanic....cooling system damage involved....

I think this has had lots of media attention and wondering about the input ($$$) and influence of BIG POLLUTION in the coverage.....

7:28PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

I don't believe this propaganda. Mostly everything americans are fed are lies. This is once again, the OIL INDUSTRY controlling you and what you buy and don't buy. Wake up people!!

4:51PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

This is more of a quality assurance thing rather than the battery problems. The Japanese and European hybrids do not have problems.

4:44PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Hopefully this problem will get fixed quickly. This will only cause more people to turn away from hybrids and electrics which is the last thing we need.

2:28PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Interesting.

2:19PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

Kath R. said "Don't all types of cars have the capacity to catch on fire or explode?"

Yes. But I suppose they generally do it at the time of the accident, not weeks after.

I would imagine that the grash tested car was put in a line of other scrap cars and not repaired.

But a fire shouldn't happen if the body shop does a proper job. Once this delayed effect is known they'll check the battery cooling as part of a repair and it shouldn't happen. Body shops check and replace seat belts even though they aren't in the immediate crash affected area.

And if any 'repaired' cars do catch fire you can bet that the insurance company will be making claims against the repairer.

1:34PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

The Chevy Volt irregardless of their battery problem is an overrated, overpriced piece of junk, in my opinion. The cost to own is outrageously prohibitive. Perhaps another idiot light and a voice command needs to be installed which blinks and yells out; vehicle is about to catch fire, abandon immediately! I have seen and heard a battery explode. It is quite loud and not pretty. Of course, each of us have the right to purchase whatever we choose.

1:25PM PST on Nov 30, 2011

The car industry really doesn't want to make things easier for the consumer, its all about money, and the combustible engine.

11:07AM PST on Nov 30, 2011

It sounds a bit suspicious to me. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend "Who Killed the Electric Car?" which documents its history and demise and suggests who might be responsible. The last truly electric cars were manufactured by Saturn, who claimed they were unsafe or impractical but users loved and swore by them. But each car was repossessed and destroyed.

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