After federal safety officials formally opened a probe into the Chevrolet Volt last week, a top General Motors executive said that it is considering changing the design of its battery. Mary Barra, GM's global product development chief, said that the design changes may include “something even more robust in this location or that location or with this component.”
However, she is urging everyone to not jump to conclusions just yet about the plug-in electric car.
Last Monday, GM said that it will offer loaner vehicles to around 6,000 Volt owners as it cooperates with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on what can be done to lessen the risk of battery fires after a crash. The NHTSA said that a lithium-ion battery pack in a Volt that was subjected to a crash test last May caught fire three weeks after at a test facility in Wisconsin.
Last Thursday, GM CEO Dan Akerson told Reuters that the company may redesign the battery for the Volt. According to GM executives, the Volt's battery pack is safe during and right after a crash. They said that these problems weren’t related to any defect in battery cells that South Korea's LG Chem Ltd. had supplied.