The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has closed its safety defect investigation into the Chevrolet Volt.
NHTSA opened its Preliminary Evaluation on Nov. 25 following a severe-impact lab test on a Chevrolet Volt battery packs that resulted in an electrical fire six days later. The test was conducted to reproduce a coolant leak that occurred in a full-scale vehicle crash test last May that resulted in an electrical fire three weeks later.
Over the weekend, NHTSA issued statement saying that based on the available data, the agency does not believe that Chevrolet Volt or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.
”Generally all vehicles have some risk of fire in the event of a serious crash. However, electric vehicles have specific attributes that should be made clear to consumers, the emergency response community, and tow truck operators and storage facilities.”
NHTSA also stated that there haven’t been any real-world Volt crashes that have resulted in battery-related fires.
GM said that NHTSA’s decision to close the investigation and the resulting stance that plug-ins are safe, is consistent with the results of GM’s internal testing and assessment.
GM also said that the engineering enhancements that GM announced January 5, 2012 will provide additional protection for the battery minimizing the risk of a post-crash fire in the days and weeks after a severe crash and rollover.