Via the AP:
WASHINGTON — New fires involving the lithium-ion batteries in General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt have prompted an investigation to assess the risk of fire in the electric car after a serious crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday.
One Volt battery pack that was being closely monitored following a government crash test caught fire Thursday, the safety administration said in a statement. Another recently crash-tested battery emitted smoke and sparks, the statement said.
GM, which was informed of the investigation on Friday, said in a statement that the Volt "is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash." The latest fires are in addition to a battery fire in a crash-tested Volt six months ago.
NHTSA learned of a possible fire risk involving damaged Volt batteries when a fire erupted in a Volt that was being stored in a parking lot of a test facility in Burlington, Wis. The fire was severe enough to cause several other vehicles parked nearby to catch fire as well.
The car had been subjected to a side-impact crash test more than three weeks earlier, on May 12, during which the battery was punctured and its coolant line ruptured.For some reason, I was reminded of the Ford Pinto case, a huge black eye for Ford. Design flaws caused gas tank explosions during rear-end collisions.