Consumer Reports reports there have been a pair of fires involving the Chevy Volt battery/electrical system. The first involves a Li-ion battery bursting into flames—but that vehicle was one used in U.S. government crash testing. The specific Volt was stored outdoors after the test and the battery was not "safed" according to GM Volt post-crash procedures. I would dare say that a gasoline powered car perhaps poses a greater post-crash risk for fire from a ruptured fuel system.
The second fire happened in North Carolina a when a Volt was being charged inside a garage. Investigators still have to determine if the charging station was certified for use and properly installed according to code. My experience with the Chevy Volt charging electronics (you can read our Driving Impressions report here) was highly favorable, seeing as the power electronics box informed me that my decades-old garage outlet was improperly grounded—causing me to use a more recently installed outlet. That was not the case with the charging electronics on the Nissan Leaf or the Prius Plug-In Hybrid.
Read the original Consumer Reports story here.
(Ed. Note: As this story was going to press, the authorities in North Carolina said their investigation showed the Volt charging electronics were not the cause of the fire, with its origination elsewhere in the garage.)
Keep up with our Chevy Volt coverage by going to Drive for Innovation and follow the cross-country journey in a Volt of EE Life editorial director, Brian Fuller. On his trip, sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is driving the car across America to interview engineers.
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