EV Engineering News

GM upgrades Volt battery pack

Today, General Motors announced a set of enhancements to the Volt’s vehicle structure and battery coolant system in an attempt to put the burning-battery bugaboo behind it once and for all. Last May, a Volt battery caught fire after a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash test that punctured the battery pack and caused coolant to leak.

GM spared no verbiage in assuring us that the Volt (a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, by the way, which has logged 20 million miles with no battery fires, thank you) was quite safe before. With the new enhancements, it’s going to be ultra-super-duper safe.


Battery-coolant sensor                                                        Tamper-resistant battery coolant reservoir bracket


The modifications strengthen part of the Volt’s safety structure to further protect the battery pack in a severe side collision, and add a sensor to monitor coolant levels and a bracket to prevent coolant overfill. GM has put the new and improved Volt through four crash tests, and there was no intrusion into the battery pack and no coolant leakage.


Structural modifications to further protect the battery pack


GM is incorporating the enhancements into all new Volts, and will individually recall existing cars to retrofit them with the upgrades.

“The Volt has always been safe to drive. Now, we will go the extra mile to ensure our customers’ peace of mind in the days and weeks following a severe crash,” said GM VP Mary Barra. “These enhancements and modifications will address the concerns raised by the severe crash tests. There are no changes to the Volt battery pack or cell chemistry as a result of these actions. We have tested the Volt’s battery system for more than 285,000 hours, or 25 years, of operation. We’re as confident as ever that the cell design is among the safest on the market.”


Images: General Motors

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