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    Sources Say The Coolant Is What Caused The Volt Fire, Solution Is Near


    General Motors might have figured out what caused the Volt to catch on fire in a NHTSA storage yard back in June.

    A source tells the Associated Press the cause of the fire is the coolant used in batteries to help keep them cool. The coolant didn't catch on fire, but crystallized and caused a short circuit.

    But just as that information was coming out, Reuters learned from a couple sources that GM is closing in on a package of proposed fixes for the battery pack. The fixes include laminating the circuitry in the Volt's 400-pound battery pack, reinforcing the case surrounding the lithium-ion battery and better protecting the coolant system from leaks in a severe crash.

    The fixes could cost less than $9 million, or about $1,000 per Volt, the sources say.

    Sources: Associated Press, Reuters

    Related:

    Chevrolet Volt Fire Prompts Investigation Into Batteries

    NHTSA Opens Investigation Into Volt Batteries

    GM Offering Free Loaner Cars to Volt Owners During Battery Investigation

    Chevy Volt Tops Consumer Reports Owner Satisfaction Survey

    GM May Redesign The Volt's Battery *UPDATED*

    A "couple dozen" Chevrolet Volt Owners Take Up GM's Buyback Offer

    House Committee Planning A Hearing Into The Volt Fire

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    Toyota - thousands of reports of stuck pedals, months years of stall tactics, blaming the victim, hiding information, zip tying floor mats...

    GM - single car that was wrecked in a test catches fire 3 weeks after the test with two out of three subsequent tests designed to have the same effect producing a "thermal event" and GM looks likely to have a solution out in mere weeks.

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    You know what can spontaneously combusted immediately after a severe accident and not 3 weeks later? Gasoline. That's it, time to recall every gasoline or diesel powered vehicle ever sold.

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    $1000 per Volt isn't a bad charge for GM to have to eat, given the apparent seriousness of the problem. I know it's only one Volt that caught fire, but the average person is conditioned to believe that fire=bad, no matter the circumstance.

    I don't think GM could have handled this any better, short of giving Volt owners a ZR1 as a loaner and including a suprmodel in the passengers' seat.

    Yes, this issue is a bit of a black eye for the Volt, but GM deserves praise for the way they handled it. They responded swiftly and they showed that they will stand behind the product and the people that bought it.

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    Personally I blame NHTSA for not having the foresight to discharge the battery after crash the test. Batteries, especially lithium batteries, can catch fire due to heat and impact shocks. This is nothing new.

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    You know what can spontaneously combusted immediately after a severe accident and not 3 weeks later? Gasoline. That's it, time to recall every gasoline or diesel powered vehicle ever sold.

    That was my thought. You crash a gas powered car and if the tank leaks you drain the tank. You crash a Electric car and the battery leaks you drain the battery.

    I still say this is more about other car companies fearing the GM system taking hold and hurting their own plans and investments they have made in EV systems. Who ever wins this battle can cost the other companies a lot of money.

    The next big thing is a call for a goverment investigation by Reps from states with Honda, Toyota and other MFG's plants. They have been lobbied to look into this and reports are they may well do so.

    You would think they would have better things like cutting goverment spending to worry about vs investigating a proactive GM that is working to solve odd rare issues with a new type of car. Dwm or Rep they should be taken out of office for wasting my money.

    I am so tired of the BS.

    If one was to look deep there are several MFG that are spending money to expose in the press and with the goverment any weakness they can on the Voltech system. I am willing to bet Toyota leads spending as they have the most to lose once GM advances this system and extends ranges and lower cost.

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    You know what can spontaneously combusted immediately after a severe accident and not 3 weeks later? Gasoline. That's it, time to recall every gasoline or diesel powered vehicle ever sold.

    That's not technically correct. Gasoline does not spontaneously combust... it requires heat and oxygen in the right proportions. Not only that, but gasoline needs to be a vapor to ignite. Granted, under the right circumstances, liquid gasoline quickly vaporizes.

    Now, its my understanding that mixing Kerosene and Gasoline in the right mixture will create a mix that will spontaneously ignite if exposed to air... but I've never tried.

    Gasoline in a tank is relatively safe, considering its energy density (47 megajoules/kg). Li Ion is 720 kilojoules/kg... about 1.5%. Even wood, at 16.2 megajoules/kg is considerably higher than Li-Ion, If you have a crash with wood, it does not spontaneously combust either.

    Ignoring oxygen, which is present everywhere, the Li Ion battery created it own heat, unlike gasoline or wood.

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    I don't think GM could have handled this any better, short of giving Volt owners a ZR1 as a loaner and including a suprmodel in the passengers' seat.

    Actually, if a Volt owner demanded they be given a ZR1 as a loner, GM would have done it.

    "Theoretically if you wanted to get into a Corvette, the customer's Volt Advisor will work to get them into one," said GM spokesperson and part-time genie in a bottle, Greg Martin. "Obviously the intent of this program is not to provide a long-term Corvette test drive, but our priority is to make sure the customer is satisfied." Source.

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    You know what can spontaneously combusted immediately after a severe accident and not 3 weeks later? Gasoline. That's it, time to recall every gasoline or diesel powered vehicle ever sold.

    That's not technically correct. Gasoline does not spontaneously combust... it requires heat and oxygen in the right proportions. Not only that, but gasoline needs to be a vapor to ignite. Granted, under the right circumstances, liquid gasoline quickly vaporizes.

    Now, its my understanding that mixing Kerosene and Gasoline in the right mixture will create a mix that will spontaneously ignite if exposed to air... but I've never tried.

    Gasoline in a tank is relatively safe, considering its energy density (47 megajoules/kg). Li Ion is 720 kilojoules/kg... about 1.5%. Even wood, at 16.2 megajoules/kg is considerably higher than Li-Ion, If you have a crash with wood, it does not spontaneously combust either.

    Ignoring oxygen, which is present everywhere, the Li Ion battery created it own heat, unlike gasoline or wood.

    No need to be pedantic, you know what I meant. :P

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    No need to be pedantic, you know what I meant. :P

    I knew what you meant, but I also knew that at some point in this debacle, someone would bring up the flammability of gasoline versus the Volt battery pack... but that is an apples to oranges comparison I have an issue with.

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