GM to offer free loaner vehicles to Chevy Volt owners as feds investigate fires

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 29, 2011

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigates reports of the Chevrolet Volt’s plug-in hybrid battery catching fire after crash testing, free loaner vehicles will be provided to its owners so that they could have “peace of mind.” General Motors executives were in a conference call with the media in an attempt to alleviate concerns about the safety of the Volt.

Mark Reuss, GM president of North America, said that the company considers the peace of mind of its customers as “the most important thing.” He narrated that GM has been sending letters to its Volt customers and dealers to give them assurances that the Volt is “safe to drive” and to explain that the probe is focused on the risk of an electrical fire that may occur days or even weeks after a severe crash.

Reuss added that those owners who are still worried may get a GM loaner car for free they resolve the issue. A team of engineers has been created by GM to “develop changes to eliminate concern of potential post-crash electrical fires" and to establish protocols with the help of others in the industry.

With a new electric vehicle in the form of the 2011 Volt, Chevrolet believes that this will create an entirely new segment in the world automotive market.

With its extended range, the 2011 Volt delivers the benefits of an EV but with none of the range limitations that are present in other EVs being sold on the market. This five-door electric vehicle, which allows for a total of four passengers, was first designed, then engineered, manufactured, and finally delivered to excited customers in a little over two years or around 29 months.

The company said that the 2011 Volt is expected to arrive at authorized dealers towards the end of 2010. While the 2011 Volt itself will already come with standard trim level that is well-equipped, Chevrolet will still be offering two packages as an option which is the Rear Camera and Park Assist Package and the Premium Trim Package.

GM North America President Mark Reuss shared that customers may find that it is enough to just own a 2011 Volt as it is able to offer a lot of features. Examples of these include having a progressive style, user-friendly technologies, safety features that are industry leading, premium amenities, excellent driving dynamics, and innovative propulsion system, he added.

No doubt the 2011 Volt is unprecedented given that it is not a hybrid. Rather it is an electric vehicle that has been designed, as well as engineered, to be driven in any weather. This all due to the fact that the 2011 Volt is powered by none other than the innovative Voltec propulsion system made by GM. It is composed of an electric drive unit and a lithium-ion battery pack that can provide an output of 16 kWh.

With this combination and factoring in the type of terrain, the current temperature, and the driving skill, the 2011 Volt can go from 25 miles to as far as 50 miles. With the help of the gas-powered 1.4-liter engine, the range can be extended for an extra 310 miles on a full tank.

This is because the engine runs the electric drive system until such time it becomes possible to recharge it, plug it, or even refuel the engine. This is the main reason why the 2011 Volt is different from other EVs on the market. For some EVs, it is not possible to run them when recharging is not possible. Thus it becomes a concern when going on long journeys or an issue altogether during power interruption.

According to Chevrolet, each component of the new Volt was first designed and then analyzed to determine its efficiency. This includes, among many others, the premium energy-saving stereo system and lightweight wheels, fitted to which are the tires that have been designed for this model.

It also comes with a very aerodynamic exterior. All of the attention to detail is likely why the Volt can be considered as one of the most energy efficient and aerodynamic vehicle today in the market. Volt global vehicle line executive Doug Parks shared that for the 2011 Volt, electric driving experience is not only intuitive, efficient, and productive, but is as fun and safe as any premium vehicle with the same size.

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