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Fact Check on Volt (GM Chevy) Problems Assurances Loans Buyback

© Donald Reinhardt, December 2, 2011. Updated January 5, 2012.

 “Green” -energy-conscious-and-saving persons all welcome alternative fuel and hybrid cars as the potential waves of the future. The Chevy Volt is part of that future, but, unfortunately, the road to that green future is and will be bumpy as all new ventures usually are. 

The Chevy Volt, a product of General Motors, is envisioned as among the cars of the future. To date about 8,000 vehicles have been sold and in January, 2011 General Motors issued a recall to insert steel protection for the battery compartment.

Chevy Volt GM Vehicle Features and Highlights

The Volt has the following features and characteristics:

·         has a 5-star overall safety rating from NHSTA and is the top safety pick of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety

·         battery package generates 16 kWh and can run the Volt for about 39 miles on a full charge before gas use and the gas generator kicks in and which provides a range of 375 miles on a single gas fill up

·         a 375-mile range is typical using the combination  gas-generator for the electric  supply

·         averages a gasoline-electric EPA rating of 60 MPG/Combined and 58 MPG/City and 62 MPG/Highway

·         has a passenger capacity of 4 persons with 2 bucket seat seating in front and back

·         MSRP is $31,645 and loaded with options may run as high as $42,000 or more

·         lease packages of $399/month for 36 months with $2,899 due at lease signing

·         end of year savings and bonus incentives may be available in December and early January

 Few Volt Problems Seen in 2011 Fire Hazard Battery Warning by NHTSA

The Chevy Volt has experienced a few problems:

·         a post-crash fire occurred with one Volt car after a crash test  and during storage some three weeks later after the test. This event was related by the NHTSA to the lithium-ion battery and was first reported in a consumer alert of Nov. 11, 2011 by the NHTSA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

·         This statement by the HTSA is most relevant:  Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe the Volt or other electric vehicles are at a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles. In fact, all vehicles — both electric and gasoline-powered — have some risk of fire in the event of a serious crash.”


What Does NHTSA Advise Relating to Volt and Related Electric-Battery Cars?

Here are the important points and advisements of the NHTSA for all owners and users of electric cars as directly derived and.

“NHTSA urges the following precautions in the event of a crash involving an electric vehicle:
  • Consumers…exit the vehicle safely or await the assistance of an emergency responder if they are unable to get out on their own, move a safe distance away from the vehicle, and notify the authorities of the crash.
  • Emergency responders should check a vehicle for markings or other indications that it is electric-powered. If it is, they should exercise caution, per published guidelines, to avoid any possible electrical shock and should disconnect the battery from the vehicle circuits if possible.
  • Emergency responders should also use copious amounts of water if fire is present or suspected and keeping in mind that fire can occur for a considerable period after a crash should proceed accordingly.
  • Operators of tow trucks and vehicle storage facilities should ensure the damaged vehicle is kept in an open area instead of a garage or other enclosed building. Rather than attempt to discharge a propulsion battery, an emergency responder, tow truck operator, or storage facility should contact experts at the vehicle's manufacturer on that subject.
  • Vehicle owners should not store a severely damaged vehicle in a garage or near other vehicles.
  • Consumers with questions about their electric vehicles should contact their local dealers.”
What Is GM Volt Assurance for Loan Cars or a Buyback and The Bottom Line About a Volt Purchase or Lease?
Until the NHSTA issues its final statement about the battery fire incident in the Volt, GM has issued a statement that they will provide loan cars for any owner who is worried about the post-crash battery-fire hazard. The solution now will be to reinforce the battery compartment with steel.
As with all purchases the pros and the cons of hybrid, electric and plug-in models of cars need to be listed, evaluated and weighed and considered. Think well and choose well should be the theme here with regard to a hybrid car and battery-electric car purchases. There are other non-Volt choices and these include the Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, the Ford/Mazda/Mercury (Escape/Tribute/Mariner) hybrids and other hybrid cars. Remember to never rush a car purchase. Proceed carefully, wisely, seek advice, research carefully and remember monetary considerations of operating costs, and costs of any associated loans or leases which are also part of the total equation. Car choices need to be good and wise choices. Think well and live well.
General Motors Volt Callback in January, 2012 for Steel ReInforcement of Car Battery Area
The AP reported this January 5, 2011 that General Motors is calling back all sold Chevy Volts to reinforce and protect the battery compartment from side crashes. In three test crashes by the NHSTA, fires occurred from damaged batteries.  Chevrolet Volt owners may call their local GM dealer for further details and appointment for the steel reinforcement of the battery compartmen.



 Chevrolet Volt, A Hybrid Gas-Electric Car Credit: U.S. Dept Labor, BLS