This action was taken in light of previous problems involving a Volt catching fire 3 weeks after battery coolant leaked and caused a short-circuit. These extra safety measures include placing additional structural pieces that would spread the power of a serious side impact away from the battery.
The pieces only weight about 2-3 pounds, so the car’s performances will not be affected in any way. What they will do, however, is eliminate the possibility of penetration of the battery pack. Another modification will be made to the battery coolant system. In order to prevent the overfilling with coolant, a tamper-resistant bracket will be added to the filler pipe.
All of this is follows in the wake of NHTSA tests that had a Volt side impacted and placed in a rotisserie. As previously mentioned, 3 weeks after this the car caught fire in the storage yard. Not long after this, investigations reveled the car’s batteries had not been emptied, and that was also a cause in starting the fire. This procedure would equate to taking the gas out of a wrecked vehicle. At this moment, General Motors is working hard on distributing instructions on how to de-energize the Volt’s battery pack to junkyards and garages.
On the morning of January 5, GM held a press conference in which the “customer satisfaction” initiative’s current phase was presented. Also, Volt owners received a letter from GM informing them about this and that, starting from February, work on modifying their car will start. The vehicles that are currently in dealerships will likewise be modified, either after or before they are sold.
The modifications will be included in all the 2012 Chevrolet Volt models, once the Detroit-Hamtramck plant resumes production after the holiday break. Also, the modifications apply to the Volts and Opel Amperas sold in Europe.
GM did not miss the change to point out their car is an extremely safe one, and all that is happening is to calm any doubts owners might have. In previous months, the offer for Volt owner to borrow another car until investigations were over, existed. Moreover, GM offered to buy-back the car if the owner did not feel safe anymore.
Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, said that only 250 persons have asked for a loaned car or opted for the buy-back alternative. Considering the total number of Volt owners, it can be said that the car enjoys a high degree of confidence from its drivers.
In spite of that fact, the Chevrolet Volt was the target of many defamatory campaigns mostly aimed at the fact that it is an electric car. GM and the 2009 bailout, as well as almost anything related to the Volt, were also attacked. It should be noted that the Nissan Leaf, Volt’s direct rival, did not “benefit” from the same treatment.