General Motors says it will be asking owners of its Chevy Volt to return the extended range electric vehicle (EV) to dealerships for enhancements to the car’s structure and battery coolant system that will protect its T-shaped battery pack in the case of a collision.
That means up to 8,000 cars already sold and another 4,400 still for sale will be in line for the fix to the problem discovered when the Volt’s plastic battery cases were punctured during National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) side-impact crash tests this past spring. Those crashes caused coolant leaks which led to shorts in the vehicles’ electrical systems. Those shorts were the cause of three fires which occurred from seven days to up to three weeks after the tests.
To make the fix, GM says it will strengthen an existing portion of the Volt’s vehicle safety structure with steel to further protect the 400-pound battery pack in a severe side collision. The company will also add a sensor in the reservoir of the battery coolant system to monitor coolant levels while also adding a tamper-resistant bracket to the top of the battery coolant reservoir to help prevent potential coolant overfill.
GM says that they’ve already tested the enhancements during four successful crash tests monitored by the NHSTA between Dec. 9 and 21. According GM’s statement, the repairs performed as intended and there was no intrusion into the battery pack and no coolant leakage in any of the tests.