Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Over the weekend the federal government opened a formal investigation into recent fires that have occurred in the groundbreaking Chevy Volt after crash tests.According to the New York Times, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (N.H.T.S.A.) has had multiple battery packs emit sparks or catch fire after being damaged in crash simulations.
General Motors is now on full damage control. Jim Frederico, GM’s chief engineer for electric vehicles, said:
The Volt is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash. G.M. and the agency’s focus and research continues to be on battery performance, handling, storage and disposal after a crash or other significant event, like a fire, to better serve first and secondary responders. There have been no reports of comparable incidences in the field.
And today information has been leaked on a new model in the pipeline from Chevrolet that could rival the Volt.
According to GreenCarReports, a GM exec has confirmed that there will be a plug-in hybrid version of the Cruze compact available for the 2014 model year.
While the Volt is an extended range EV and not a true hybrid, the initial cost of the Cruze plug-in will surely be much less than the $40,000 MSRP of the Volt.
With these recent fires and lackluster sales (GM was looking to move 10,000 Volts in 2011, but to date has only sold slightly more than 5,000, according to GreenCarReports), the addition of a plug-in Cruze could be a worry for the small group of fans that the Volt has created. But it could also save GM from what might end up being a very sticky issue.
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