The Fix Is In As GM Makes Changes To Volt After NHTSA Investigation

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
the fix is in as gm makes changes to volt after nhtsa investigation

General Motors announced changes to the Chevrolet Volt’s design after a NHTSA investigation into why a Volt caught fire following crash testing.

The changes will go into effect once production restarts at the Hamtramck, Michigan facility, but customer cars already sold will follow a different protocol.

Starting in February, GM will initiate a “voluntary customer satisfaction program” to make the necessary changes to the Volt. According to GM’s Rob Peterson said that formal recalsl must be initiated by NHTSA, and their lack of movement prompted GM to enact a voluntary one instead.

The fix involves changes to the Volt’s battery pack housing, as well as a coolant temperature sensor and a special bracket to prevent overfilling. The previous system allowed the battery housing to be punctured, which then resulted in coolant overflowing onto a circuit board causing an electrical short. The short was determined to be the cause of the fire.

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  • Morea Morea on Jan 06, 2012

    What is the composition of the cooling liquid?

  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Jan 06, 2012

    Good to see GM adressed this issue fairly quickly. It was pretty obvious that the liquid cooling for the battery was the issue. Glad to see they didn't change that. In a few years I think everyone is gonna see how much better ther Volt is than the Leaf as far as longterm battery performance. I had a Volt in my garage for 2 days last fall and absolutely loved it. GM needs to give the Volt a minnimum of 2-3 years on dealer lots. Improvements in the vehicle performance & cost reduction combined with risng gas prices all need to happen to give the Volt a fair shake.

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    • Steven02 Steven02 on Jan 06, 2012

      @SCE to AUX Let's see how the battery of the Leaf is in 10 years of Texas heat vs what the Volt is. At that point, you will know which battery cooling system is better.

  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Jan 06, 2012

    "As for the Volt vs Leaf argument, I’ve stated before that the Leaf’s simpler air-cooled system is superior for long-term reliability." Your guessing that it is. If the Leaf's current range drops 30-40% in 4-5 years and the Volt still has 95-98% of its range, you tell me how that's superior. I'm not saying that it's gonna play out that way, but the battery on the Volt is liquid cooled for a good reason. The Leaf also uses a higher percentage of its total battery capacity, something else that will hurt its range performance long term. I like the Leaf and I'm glad Nissan built it, but I don't think it's put together anywhere near as well as a Volt. It's more on the Prius level as far as build quality, driving experience and standard options.

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    • Herm Herm on Jan 06, 2012

      We probably will know within the year how the Leaf is holding up, some will come up to 50k miles and should start showing some signs of battery degradation. Apparently Nissan developed a special battery chemistry that is not as delicate as LG's chemistry.. superficially they are both lithium manganese spinel but there are different additives they can use. Also the Leaf's battery is packaged in such a way as to expose a lot of the case to cooling air.. both the Volt and Focus bury their batteries inside the car with less area exposed to airflow. The Volt does this because it has to accommodate a fuel tank and an exhaust system, the Focus has to do it because its a conversion while the Leaf was designed from the ground up to be a BEV (but using parts from the Versa, the Frontier and the Sentra). Volt is different, GM has promised that as the battery ages more of the capacity that is held in reserve will be used to maintain the promised 40 miles of range.. Nissan allows you to use almost all the battery from day one and holds nothing in reserve. Obviously the degradation on the Leaf will be noticeable before the degradation of the Volt, and perhaps both are aging at the same rate.

  • Mike Kelley Mike Kelley on Jan 07, 2012

    What am I missing here? The Obama administration wants us to drive electric cars, but they want to greatly reduce the amount of electricity we produce and make it more costly: The consumer will pay, as usual.

    • CJinSD CJinSD on Jan 07, 2012

      If it diminishes the quality of working Americans' lives, Obama is in favor of it. He said he'd find a way to make energy a luxury good and enough people still had some negative qualities that caused them to vote for him.