GM finds solution to Volt battery crash problem, plans enhancements

DETROIT (WXYZ) - General Motors says it has a solution to the Chevrolet Volt battery crash problem.

GM says it will make enhancements to the car structure and battery coolant system to protect the battery from the possibility of an electrical fire after a crash. The NHTSA opened an investigation into the problem back in November of 2011 after a severe impact test crash resulted in the car catching fire six days later. 

The modifications will include strengthening an existing portion of the Volt's safety structure that will protect the battery from severe side collisions, adding a sensor in the reservoir of the battery coolant system to monitor coolant levels and add a tamper resistant bracket to the top of the battery coolant reservoir to help prevent potential coolant overfill.

"The Volt has always been safe to drive. Now, we will go the extra mile to ensure our customers' peace of mind in the days and weeks following a severe crash," said Mary Barra, GM senior vice president of Global Product Development.

General Motors conducted four successful crash tests between December 9th and 21st with the new structural enhancements and there were no problems.

"These enhancements and modifications will address the concerns raised by the severe crash tests," Barra said. "There are no changes to the Volt battery pack or cell chemistry as a result of these actions. We have tested the Volt's battery system for more than 285,000 hours, or 25 years, of operation. We're as confident as ever that the cell design is among the safest on the market."

Volt owners will be notified when the modifications are available for their vehicles. Also that the new fix is being put into place for new Volts that will be produced next month.

"We're focused on one thing right now: doing what's right by our customers," said GM North America President Mark Reuss. "We'll live up to our commitment to make sure our customers are delighted with their purchase."

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