Chevrolet Volt keeps its top crash safety rating despite battery fires

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 7, 2011

The Chevrolet Volt is the subject of an investigation over reports of battery fires but despite that, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety isn’t planning to take away its top crash safety rating or retest it. This move by the influential insurance group boosts the position that General Motors insists on with regards to the safety of its electric car.

The Volt accounts for less than 1% of GM’s sales in the U.S. GM aims to be rebranded as the leader in green-car technology and fuel efficiency and it is relying on the plug-in hybrid to be the centerpiece for this goal.

Last February, the IIHS gave five stars to the 2011 Chevrolet Volt after it was tested. Consumers closely keep track of the ratings of this group, which is underwritten by insurance firms. Automakers’ marketing frequently use these ratings. Its tests show no indication of damage to the battery packs.

In a Reuters’ interview, IIHS spokesman Russ Rader said that “red flags” would have been raised if it found any damage to the battery and if there was a fire risk.

There won’t be retesting in this case since the role of the IIHS is not to investigate potential defects, according to Rader. A formal probe was opened by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Nov. 25 to gauge the safety of battery pack after its tests found fire risks. Three weeks after a lithium-ion battery pack in a Volt was subjected to a NHTSA crash test last May, it had caught fire at a test facility in Wisconsin.

Powertrain

Providing exceptional power and possessing great spirit, the Voltec propulsion system in the Chevrolet Volt's electric engine is capable of driving 350 miles on a full charge.

The long-life battery is a T-shaped 16 kWh lithium-ion battery. It measures 5 and half feet, weighs 435 lb or 198.1 kg, and is manufactured in Brownstown Township in Michigan. It provides the energy to the 111 kW (149 hp) electric drive which is completely emission-free. Designed to offer great value for money, safe and provide exceptional quality, durability and performance, the Chevrolet Volt battery is guaranteed for up to eight years or 100,00 miles, depending on which comes first.

With more than a million miles of testing and over four millions hours of validation, GM engineers have ensured that they are putting the Volt lithium-ion batteries through an in-depth series of tests and making sure they work on all nine modules and all 288 prismatic cells.

The various teams at GM have worked hard to meet the rigorous specifications required for electric batteries and have checked the 161 components, the vast majority of which were designed and built by GM in Michigan.

The GM Executive Director of Global Electrical Systems Micky Bly said that he is looking forward to the future as the company hopes to benefit the next generation with its decision to move away from fossil fuels. He added that by using only the very best in materials and technology, its customers will be able to make their own decisions and make the move to a petroleum-free vehicle.

Once you have drained the battery, the vehicle switches quickly over to the extended-range mode, taking power from the 1.4L 63 kW, 84 hp gasoline-powered engine which can provide an extra 310 miles.

Providing an enthusiastic drive, the Volt is capable of reaching 100mph and has a low speed torque of 273 pound per foot, 368 Nm, which means it can go from 0-60 in 9 seconds and can do a quarter of a mile in 17 seconds.

To meet the families’ needs, the battery can be charged in a number of different ways, whether it’s the traditional household 120V outlet or a 240V charging outlet. Using the 240V outlet, the battery can be recharged in four hours and up to 12 hours with the 120V. The charging of the battery can be staggered or timed to take place when electricity is cheaper or according to your needs. It can also be monitored via the Chevrolet app or via your computer using MyVolt.com.

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