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NHTSA Closes Chevrolet Volt Investigation

January 24, 2012

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded its investigation of the Chevrolet Volt. NHTSA concluded that GM’s planned updates to the vehicle reduce the potential for post-crash battery fires. The organization released the following in a statement:

“Opened on November 25, the agency’s investigation has concluded that no discernible defect trend exists and that the vehicle modifications recently developed by General Motors reduce the potential for battery intrusion resulting from side impacts.”

NHTSA said it remains unaware of any real-world crash, involving the Volt, which has resulted in a battery-related fire. The organization said it originally opened the investigation due to the “innovative nature of this emerging technology.” The organization said the following regarding the general safety of electric vehicles:

“Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles. Generally all vehicles have some risk of fire in the event of a serious crash. However, electric vehicles have specific attributes that should be made clear to consumers, the emergency response community, and tow truck operators and storage facilities.”

NHTSA also stated that it has developed interim guidance on dealing with electric vehicles in post-crash situations. You can find guidance for storing vehicles, and for towing, here. The organization also has guidance for drivers involved in accidents here.

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