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.