General Motors announced today it will make enhancements to the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle as a response to concerns over battery stability following severe crashes.
The announcement comes after National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing and laboratory evaluation that resulted in delayed thermal incidents, all related to Volt’s battery pack and coolant used for the pack’s thermal stability.
While Volt was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, GM decided to go ahead with the modifications “to ensure customers’ peace of mind in the days and weeks following a severe crash.”
“These enhancements and modifications will address the concerns raised by the severe crash tests,” said Mary Barra, GM senior vice president of Global Product Development. “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.”
The modifications include:
• Strengthening an existing portion of the Volt’s vehicle safety structure to further protect the battery pack in a severe side collision;
• Adding a sensor in the reservoir of the battery coolant system to monitor coolant levels, and;
• Adding a tamper-resistant bracket to the top of the battery coolant reservoir to help prevent potential coolant overfill.
GM said it conducted four successful crash tests between Dec. 9 and 21 of Volts with the structural enhancement. The enhancement performed as intended. There was no intrusion into the battery pack and no coolant leakage in any of the tests.
Volt customers will be individually notified when the modifications are available for their vehicles and the enhancements are currently being incorporated into the Volt manufacturing process.