Chevy Volt Has Fire— 3 Weeks After Crash Test

US safety officials are investigating lithium-ion batteries
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2011 6:05 PM CST
Chevy Volt Has Fire— 3 Weeks After Crash Test
Chevrolet Volt vehicles on the assembly line.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(Newser) – The comforting news for Chevy Volt owners is that the car did great in a crash test. The less-comforting news is that the same car started on fire three weeks later while sitting in storage. As a result, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the lithium-ion batteries that power the Volt and other electric cars, reports Bloomberg. The problem: A puncture in the battery can set off a slow-moving chemical reaction that eventually results in fire. It can takes days or weeks, depending on the size of the puncture.

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Both the agency and GM say the car is safe, notes the New York Times. “Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe the Volt or other electric vehicles are at a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles,” said the agency. But regulators want to work more closely with automakers to gather information about the batteries and make sure safety protocols are in place to protect passengers, emergency responders, tow-truck drivers, etc., after accidents. (Read more Chevrolet Volt stories.)

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