A memo on the safercar.gov Web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that it is taking a closer look at whether the Chevrolet Volts pose a fire risk. The lithium ion batteries of several Volts that were subjected to crash testing had caught fire three weeks after the side-impact tests.
The U.S. safety regulators want a comprehensive understanding of the damage on the battery due to the impact, including how welded materials are affected.
This evaluation request is dated Dec. 6. According to the NHTSA, there are five Volts placed at its Vehicle Research and Test Center in Ohio, where it will inspect and study the possible damage to the battery tunnel on the driver and passenger sides of the vehicles.
If there would be more testing, they will be set at a later date. The agency has been working together with General Motors engineers to establish the cause of a fire in June that involves the Volt.
The hybrid plug-in car caught fire while it was in a storage facility. Three other vehicles caught fire. More testing done on the week of Nov. 14 resulted to another fire. The following week, the NHTSA said that a safety probe has been opened. The memo from NHTSA said that it is testing for a potential flaw that may cause the battery to catch fire after it gets damaged during a crash.