• Nov 11th 2011 at 12:45PM
  • 34
NHTSA is looking into a battery fire in a parked Chevy ... NHTSA is looking into a battery fire in a parked Chevy Volt. (GM)
The federal government is investigate a fire in a Chevy Volt after one of the lithium-ion batteries caught fire, setting ablaze cars parked near the Volt, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The Volt was parked in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lot in Wisconsin following a crash three weeks earlier, Bloomberg says.

The Volt underwent a side-impact crash test, and was then put in the garage for storage.

The agency is also looking into a house fire in Lake Norman, N.C., this month which happened when a Chevy Volt was charging inside the garage. Although it's unclear whether the fire started because of the Volt, because of its charging station, or because of a completely unrelated reason, Duke Energy told customers they should stop charging their electric cars in their home garages until further notice.

General Motors says an April fire in Barkhamsted, Conn., was not caused by the Chevy Volt charging in that garage, either. A 1987 Suzuki Samurai, which had been converted to run on electricity, was also charging in that garage.

GM spokesman Greg Martin believes the Volt is safe and doesn't pose any greater risk than other cars. GM makes the Volt under the Chevy brand name.

GM has developed its own set of steps on how to deal with the lithium ion battery after an accident. Martin said if those protocols had been followed in Wisconsin, there would not have been a fire.

Lithium ion batteries have been a tricky technology for automakers to master, because they have a tendency to heat up when in operation. When Ford developed the hybrid Escape, it had to look for unique ways to cool the battery, and added air vents that passed cool air over the battery to keep it from overheating.

The Volt also has special cooling technology. The battery is large and t-shaped, and cooling plates made by Dana Corp. are located between each battery cell.

It is unclear why the Volt caught fire in Wisconsin.


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  • 34 Comments
      babby201
      • 3 Years Ago
      It only exists for political reasons, the politicians should stay out of manufacturing, as they should stay away from economic planning, they always go for the popular opinion, wether its realistic or not , just to get the votes and the tax funds for their connected friends.
      duvhoc
      • 3 Years Ago
      I own 1971 F-250 with a highly modified V-8. It has 405 hp and 680 flbs of torque, at the road. It gets a solid 14 mpg. And it tests as clean as any new truck at the tail pipe. My daily driver is a 97 Camry. It's a "Federal car" that I acidentally got registered in CA (it's a long story). Without all the smog crap that most cars have it still meets CA emisions standards readilly and gets 24 mpg in town and 28 mpg on the highway. New cars are regulated to junk. Electric cars are a complete waste. It takes more energy to transmit that power to your home. And where does that power come from? In CA it comes from natural gas generators. Stupid! And what about those batteries that need replaced every three or four years? What happens to those? Eletric cars are not about saving money or the planet, they are about control. Liberate your self, build an old Camero or Mustang into a power house! And when you see a green F-250 with a note on the rear bumper " There is more steel in this bumper than in your entire car... think about it!" and licence frame that says "Driving this I'm freer than you", wave, I'll wave back.
        Bruce Coeling
        • 3 Years Ago
        @duvhoc
        I did the math a while back on a new Focus Vs an electric car. Taking into concideration the double Plus price tag, and the cost of replacing your batteries, and motor brushes and comutator turning, all of which are inevitable, it would be senseless to buy an electric car of any manufacturer. You will pay double.
      defensearms
      • 3 Years Ago
      U.S. auto makers only place recalls after many life's are lost....... and many complain about Toyota placing recall for a carpet!.....at least they put out recalls right the way and take care of what is wrong. Worst now also is that a big majority of USA made cars are actually built in Mexico and Canada and the ones put together here are using parts built in other countries
        vlady1000
        • 3 Years Ago
        @defensearms
        Ypu have no ideae of what you are talking about
        Bruce Coeling
        • 3 Years Ago
        @defensearms
        But don't you recall that Toyota was told a long time before the gas pedal thing that there was a problem, and they admitted that they knew and tried to sweep it under the rug. It was only then when the pressure was so great, that they came clean.
      • 3 Years Ago
      censorship sucks too
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think i will stick with my fourwheel drive suburban. hell ,i think i might even add another carburator.
      • 3 Years Ago
      the volt sucks
      John
      • 3 Years Ago
      OMG what freaking idiots car companies are just talk to us in the R/C model community we will tell you how to make your LI-Po packs safe. KEEP THEM OUT OF A VEHICLE OR AREA THAT CAN TRANSMIT AN SHARP IMPACT TO THEM. Li-Po packs can spontanously explode or burst into flame if subjected to an impact even days or weeks after. The internal insulating film between the cell layers is easily torn in an impact letting a uncontrollable chemical reaction to take place igniting the lithium and polymer films this happens with a sharp impact like a R/C plane or car crashing and those are low impacts compared to a car. We insulate our packs with a layer of energy absorbing foam (like those mattresses) on all ends side and corners. Plus we use whats called a Balencing charger so each cell charges at the same rate and each cell never overheats or overcharges which can happen with a "quick" charger. Please car makers we model makers solved the problems you are having 8 years ago!
      Smith Jim
      • 3 Years Ago
      Gasoline powered cars never catch fire when involved in a collision. Right?
      junglejack
      • 3 Years Ago
      vlady1000.......... hey those toyota turdras are fine for hauling a single sh eet of plywood or your groceries... No one who buys them really expects them to be a real work truck do they? besides they are butt UGLY.
        vlady1000
        • 3 Years Ago
        @junglejack
        That is what the guy across the street does with his. He has more geezmos for it to tie stuff down, ramps, hard bed cover, etc But never uses them. I think the heavest load he has had was a rented power rake from Home Depot. He tell me I should get a hard bed cover for my truck. I looked at him and said I would have to take it off every other day so I could haul stuff since I am always using it as a REAL truck. Just got back from doing some landscape work on one of my student rentals. Hauled 1,300 lbs 70 miles at 80mph in my Silverado) and it felt like about 500lbs was back there.
      INFRWKSNJ
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's what happens when you try to run a car off of hearing aid batteries.
      • 3 Years Ago
      wtf
      junglejack
      • 3 Years Ago
      most likely was set on fire by one of anti GM morons
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