Friday, January 6, 2012

GM offers fix to Volt to prevent fire risk

(Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Thursday it has developed a proposed fix to the battery pack for the Chevrolet Volt to eliminate the risk of a fire being triggered days after a crash.

GM said it would strengthen structural protection for the 400-pound lithium-ion battery in the Volt by adding steel reinforcements and take other steps to prevent coolant fluid from leaking and triggering a fire.

U.S. safety regulators indicated they were ready to sign off on the relatively quick repairs for the Volt, heading off a costly distraction for the top U.S. automaker and the prospect of a safety recall on its highest profile vehicle.

GM has made the Volt the symbol of its determination to seize a leadership position in fuel economy and green technology, and its engineers have been racing to respond to a safety investigation by U.S. regulators since late last year.

"This remains a halo vehicle for us in technology and design," Mark Reuss, GM's chief of North American operations, told reporters.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a probe of the Volt's battery pack in November.

NHTSA, which has the power to review proposed safety fixes by automakers, said the changes to the battery pack developed by GM appear to protect the Volt from fires of the kind it found possible in its safety tests. Learn More...

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