New fires involving the lithium-ion batteries in General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt have prompted an investigation to assess the risk of fire in the electric car after a serious crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says. One Volt battery pack that was being closely monitored following a government crash test caught fire Thursday; another recently crash-tested battery emitted smoke and sparks, according to a statement from the safety administration.
GM, which was informed of the investigation yesterday, said in a statement that the Volt "is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash." The latest fires are in addition to a battery fire in a crash-tested Volt six months ago. Last week's tests of three battery packs were designed to replicate the May test. The first battery tested last week didn't catch fire. But a battery test on Nov. 17 initially experienced a temporary temperature increase, and on Thursday caught fire. Another battery tested on Nov. 18 began to smoke and emit sparks shortly after the rotation. (Read more General Motors stories.)