Chevrolet Volt battery safety tests prompt more fires, further investigation

2012-Chevy-Volt-Driver-SideEarlier this month, we reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was investigating potential safety issues related to electric car batteries — specially, the Chevrolet Volt — after a routine crash test resulted in a fire. While the agency hadn’t been able to replicate the incident at the time, subsequent tests of three Volt battery packs have resulted in three more incidents.

According to Automobile Magazine, the trio of lithium-ion battery packs were tested between November 16-18, and all three tests involved rupturing the vehicle’s coolant line and damaging the compartment that housed the battery. While the fire test didn’t result in a fire, there was a temporary increase in temperature reported the following day. The second battery caught fire seven days after testing, while the third began to smoke and emit sparks within hours of being damaged in the test.

In all three tests, the battery packs were impacted and then rotated to simulate a side-impact collision and roll.

The NHTSA and General Motors are now working to determine the cause of the fires, and there’s no word yet on whether there will be a recall. So far, the NHTSA hasn’t raised any concerns about electric vehicles other than the Volt, and there have been no fires reported by Volt owners.