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Chevy Volt Passes Safety Investigation 200

An anonymous reader writes "A few months ago, reports of battery fires from crash-tested Chevy Volts caused the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to open an investigation into the type of batteries used in the Volt and other EVs. That investigation has now concluded, and the NHTSA says the cars are safe. 'The agency and General Motors Co. know of no fires in real-world crashes. GM and federal safety officials say they believe the fires were caused by coolant leaking from damaged plastic casing around the batteries after side-impact collisions. The coolant caused an electrical short, which sparked battery fires seven days to three weeks after the crashes. GM announced earlier this month that it will add steel plates to about 12,000 existing Volts to protect the batteries in the event of a crash.'"
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Chevy Volt Passes Safety Investigation

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 22, 2012 @12:23AM (#38778587)

    yeah the volt's batteries aren't safe like a big tank of hydrocarbons under your ass.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @01:27AM (#38778805) Homepage Journal

    If the Volt is the best GM can do, the bailout/aid money they were provided was a waste of taxpayer dollars. They'll still end up bankrupt if they can't do any better than this.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @02:07AM (#38778939)

    In the end, the Volt turned out to be a lemon .... the battery charge does not deliver the promise (miserable) 30 miles per charge and the gas engine has an efficiency about as bad as a small SUV (~22 mpg). And for $40K that is a crappy deal. Maybe that is why GM just canceled the model.

    When consumer reports tested the car, on their 150 mile trip of mixed city/highway driving they got 70mpg.

    They said that the battery-only range varied from a low of 20 miles (with electric heater on) to up to 50 miles at moderate speeds with no climate control switched on. 25 miles of electric range would cover most of the typical American's commute (USA average is 29 miles per day)

  • by silverhalide ( 584408 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @02:50AM (#38779089)

    To put it in perspective, a Volt battery has roughly 16 KWh of energy stored. An gas tank on an equivalent sized car is roughly 10 gallons. At 36.6 KWh/gal, that's 360 Kwh of energy, or more than 22X the energy of the battery. Now, assuming that all goes up at once, which one do you want to be near? Couple that with the fact you can't easily set off a lithium battery fire with an open flame or a spark, and I know which odds I'll be taking.

    Of course the Volt has both energy sources. But, the point is that a battery pack--coupled with modern cooling controls, safety interlocks and fusing--is safer than a tank of gasoline in a multitude of crash scenarios. Yes, you have to be concerned about high voltage exposure, but all modern packs have disconnect relays that are wired to a crash sensor (ala airbags or the fuel pump cutoff switch).

    The reality is this whole thing was a witch hunt likely egged on by Volt competitors.

  • Re:Simple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:16AM (#38779695)
    So GM adds a disclaimer to the service manual: In the event of an accident take the car to your nearest dealer for a free battery inspection

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