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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Ruh Roh: Chevy Volt Batteries Catching Fire, 21st Century's Version of Ford Pinto?

Some might argue that the crowning achievement of the Obama administration so far has been the Chevy Volt. The bad news is that it appears the batteries in these vehicles may be at risk of catching fire after the car is involved in an accident. The good news? There aren't many on the road.

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.

h/t Hapblog

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