It’s been more than two months since the reported outbreak of fires after crash tests of the Chevrolet Volt, but it appears the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is “comfortable” with General Motors changes to its plug-in electric assist hybrid whatchamacallit vehicle. GM says it will add steel reinforcements around the battery itself, along with a monitor responsible for detecting any leaks—believed to be at the root of the fire outbreaks—if they occur again. GM put the Volt through its crash test paces four times in December with these new additions included and no fires have been reported.
The Volt isn’t out of the woods just yet though as the NHTSA’s original investigation remains open for the time being. It should be noted that none of the fires that occurred in crash testing happened in real-world events. Consumers appear to realize this as well as Chevrolet sold 1529 Volts in December, more than any previous month. However the Detroit-based auto maker still fell short of its goal to move 10,000 units by the end of 2011 with 7671 units sold.
Even after the Volt’s issues with the fires the NHTSA continues to stand by the hybrid vehicle endorsing it with a five-star safety rating. The NHTSA will also be reevaluating its criteria about what deserves a higher rating than other vehicles. New technologies like drowsy driver alert, alarms that make the steering wheel vibrate if drivers leave their lane, and smart cruise control are currently being looked at and could be implemented on all new vehicles in the next few years. Smart cruise control senses when the driver approaches another vehicle in front of it to quickly and applies the brakes if a crash is about to happen. In the past the NHTSA mandated electronic stability control for all vehicles and it’s now a requirement for all makes and models produced for 2012 and beyond to have.
Do you think General Motors added enough safety features to quell the fire problems with the Volt? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Source: CBS News