When news of a fire in a North Carolina garage housing a Chevy Volt broke last week, green car enthusiasts – and, no doubt, General Motors – sucked in a collective breath. Had the lithium-ion battery pack in the range-extending hybrid suffered from some sort of defect? Or was perhaps the LiMn2O4 chemistry of the LG-supplied cells inherently dangerous?
Garage fires are nothing new, and there will come a day when stories like this one won't make national news. For now, though, if a Chevy Volt is inside a garage that blazes up, people notice. This happened earlier this year in Connecticut – in a fire that was later ruled to not be caused by the Volt – and it just happened again, this time in Mooresville, NC.