Volt's Burning Desire: The Fix Is In. Is It Really?

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
volt s burning desire the fix is in is it really

GM is close to having a fix for the Volt battery that had a tendency to go up in flames after a crash. Meanwhile in Washington, senators are getting the grill ready.

Reuter’s Detroit bureau reports that repairs under consideration involve laminating circuitry in the battery pack, a reinforced case for the battery, and leakproofing the coolant system.

The good part is that the fix could be performed at GM dealerships, which, says Reuters, “could spare the automaker the cost and reputation damage from a more involved safety recall.” In other words, GM would not have to take the car back. Currently, Volt customers drive around with loaners while their Volts remain parked.

Reuters heard the solution before GM senior management did. Management will be shown the fix by the end of the week. The cost is said to be less than $9 million for GM, or about $1,000 per Volt. If NHTSA regulators want a more involved solution, it will be more expensive.

GM spokesman Rob Peterson had not heard of the fix: “To the best of my knowledge, we’re not discussing exact solutions at this point,” he told Reuters.

While GM is dousing the flames, DC is preparing a grilling.

The regulatory subcommittee of the House Oversight panel wants to hold a hearing next month. It wants to know why it took nearly six months for the matter to become public and whether the committee should have been advised. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a probe of the Volt’s battery pack last month.

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6 of 54 comments
  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Dec 08, 2011

    "My claims about the Leaf’s air cooled system being superior are now vindicated." Not really. The reason for liquid cooling the battery was to enhance battery performance long term. We have a pretty good number on what these cars will do on battery power when new, lets wait 5 years and see what happens. If the Volt is still providing somewhere around 40 miles on electric and a Leaf can't break 50, then I'd say it was a good move on GM's part. If not, then you can tell me to eat crow!...LOL

    • Mcs Mcs on Dec 08, 2011
      lets wait 5 years and see what happens. So there's zero chance of any type of internal leak or other type of failure in the cooling system?

  • Damikco Damikco on Dec 08, 2011

    Im new to this site and i can see that the Anti-GM crowd are grasping for straws to discredit GM.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Dec 08, 2011

      GM discredits themselves when episodes like this happen. As an engineer, it seems like very convenient timing to have found the cause of this problem so quickly, just before the Congressional Inquisition begins. The Volt took years to develop, and they figured out this problem in a couple of weeks. Impressive, but not convincing.

  • Raven1462 Raven1462 on Dec 08, 2011

    While I appreciate the work and reporting done here and have gotten most of my Volt updates that I trust from here, I must say the wording of some things leaves a little to be desired. For instance, if I new nothing about what is going on with the Volt and happened to read a sentence that the Volt "had a tendency to go up in flames after a crash" I would think they were burning up like someone sneezed on the Hindenburg. It's amazing what the leaving out of one little word will do... but I guess "had a tendency to go up in flames days after a crash" is not as sensational. Though not as obvious but still as annoying is sentences like this: "Currently, Volt customers drive around with loaners while their Volts remain parked." Again, true for the 30-40 out of 6000 Volt owners that made that choice. But to state something that is not the norm yet makes it seem like all Volt owners are driving loaners is a little misleading. Now, granted, the readership of this fine site generally knows better so I am not overly worried but if someone was only getting their info from here and otherwise lived in a box, that would not be great. This from a conservative, supposedly Volt hating Volt driver. But thanks to TTAC once I wade through the hype I now know: 1)If I get in an accident, don't have them tow the car back to my garage and let it sit there. Check. 2)Don't let any yahoo off the street (including myself) install the charger, and make sure it is inspected afterward. Check. 3)Continue to enjoy driving my flaming Volt of doom (also a good name for a rock band). Check. Of course I could get that same info from the Detroit News locally but then I wouldn't get the snarky comments and where is the fun in that...

  • Mike Kelley Mike Kelley on Dec 08, 2011

    Who needs to grasp at straws to discredit GM? This outfit has littered the landscape with mediocre products for decades, dropped market share from 50% to under 20%, and recently needed a massive government bailout just to stay in business. Now they stupidly pin their reputation on a "green", coal-powered car that seems to have safety issues and would be recalled if it was a Toyota.