DETROIT (Jan. 6, 12 p.m. ET) — General Motors executives said today that they have come up with a fix to a design flaw that led some Chevrolet Volt battery packs to catch fire in days or weeks after government safety tests.
GM will reinforce the steel surrounding the Volt's battery pack to prevent it from being punctured during a crash. It also will add a sensor to the battery pack to monitor coolant leaks.
GM global product chief Mary Barra said the fires that occurred in June and November after testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were the result of a puncture in the side of the battery pack that allowed a small amount of coolant to leak into the pack. The coolant then interacted with electronics inside the pack, igniting them days or weeks later.
In a statement, NHTSA said the investigation into the Volt battery pack that it began in November remains open.
“The agency has not concluded that investigation and is continuing to gather and assess information on the post-crash fire risk in these vehicles,” the agency said.
Volt owners can visit their Chevrolet dealership for the free fix, which should be ready sometime in February, officials said.
Barra said the process is not a recall, but a voluntary “customer satisfaction program.”