GM Reinforces Volt Battery as Customer Service Gesture
Published January seven, 2012
By Jeff Cobb
On Thursday GM announced it had engineered an expedient but successful remedy to post-crash-test battery fires reported by the National Highway Transportation Security Administration, and will ask Chevrolet Volt drivers to return to their dealers for the one-day reinforcing procedure.
Regardless of ongoing distortions of details by critics like 1 Fox News pundit who advised the vehicle might “blow up,” federal authorities have repeated that the Volt is risk-free and GM says its voluntary measure is meant to preserve displaying why the Volt is rated #1 in customer satisfaction.
According to Mary Barra, GM’s senior VP of international item improvement, the fire’s cause following a 20-mph side-effect into a pole involved rupturing the battery’s coolant lines that led to short circuiting.
“Testing and analysis revealed the fire was the outcome of a minor intrusion from a portion of the vehicle into a side area of the battery pack,” Barra stated on Chevrolet VoltAge.com. “The intrusion resulted in a modest coolant leak inside the battery, roughly 50 ml (1-quarter of a cup) of fluid.”
Igniting an additional Volt battery in repeated side-effect tests was not at 1st an simple job, and it wasn’t till December that two crash tested stand-alone batteries showed how it’s carried out. As soon as that was understood, GM scrambled to put out the fire of public perception as rapidly as it could.
And to be sure, Barra confirmed GM swiftly finished advancement and validation of its remedial measures, “thereby eliminating the possibility for a post-crash electrical fire for this test issue.”
She then described the procedure GM dealers will provide Volt owners in its “Customer Satisfaction Program” starting in February – it’s not a recall, therefore not being accomplished with federal oversight, and – the hope is – with less perceived stigma.
“First, we’re going to strengthen an existing portion of the vehicle’s security construction that protects the battery pack in the event of a serious side collision,” Barra stated. “The enhancements add to the robustness in guarding the battery and its coolant lines in the event of a significant side crash.”
Additional enhancements to the battery coolant system, contain:
• Setting up a sensor in the battery coolant program reservoir to monitor coolant levels.
• Adding a tamper resistant bracket to the top of the battery coolant reservoir to support avert prospective coolant overfill.
“These enhancements and modifications will address the worries raised by the extreme crash tests,” Barra said. “There are no adjustments to the Volt battery pack or cell chemistry as a result of these actions. We have tested the Volt’s battery program for far more than 285,000 hours, or 25 many years, of operation. We’re as confident as ever that the cell style is among the safest on the market place.”
The firm extra that the Volt is a Top rated Security Pick by the Insurance coverage Institute for Highway Safety and has earned other safety awards from key 3rd-party organizations.
Even though no fires like these designed by NHTSA have been reported by Volt drivers, Barra stated GM is now “choosing to go the added mile to ensure our customers’ peace of thoughts.”
When the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant reopens Jan. 23, these same updates will be baked into all new Volts, GM mentioned.
An exaggerated problem
The Volt – which truly got started as a notion throughout the Bush administration – has been extensively believed to be probably the most singled-out automotive political whipping boy by opponents to the Obama administration, Basic Motors, electrified cars or all the above.
Although no electrical autos have yet caught fire on the road, and last year alone over 200,000 internally combusted cars had been involved in fires, the Volt has received outsized interest as a representative of plug-in electrified cars which some have noted the Obama administration has given that embraced.
Truly, the Volt offers broad appeal for these interested in not just the environment, but also national safety, power safety, and in brief, it has been explained to represent a initial step toward solving troubles essential to all political sensibilities, but perceptions at the second are what they are.
The instant “concerns” NHTSA raised top to an investigation opened final month involved the threat of a battery fire starting up hours or days right after a Volt has previously been totaled in a collision.
NHTSA has by no means advised an EV battery could explode on impact, nor has it been able to get 1 to even effortlessly catch fire after repeatedly crashing them.
The remedial engineering involving 2-3 pounds of added steel in important locations to guard the Volt’s battery pack in a significant accident and to stop battery coolant overfill were carried out by GM not since NHTSA explained it had to, but GM explained it actually wishes to prove it is offering a viable and risk-free technological innovation.
It has hence been observed GM jumped by way of the hoops it did in response to fears and worries a lot more than actual quantifiable dangers. Individuals not unwilling to credit GM have mentioned it acted with a commendable do-what-it-takes buyer service attitude, and other folks far more neutrally have stated GM’s gesture was public relations damage control.
Nevertheless 1 calls it, it is clear that just mentioning the threat of “fire” above and above once again has had a sturdy impact on public perceptions in today’s political and social climate – specially amongst people asked to contemplate a new technology that numerous in the mainstream do not entirely understand.
Last month the media focused on GM’s initial efforts to assuage people’s fears which includes supplying a loaner auto even though NHTSA’s investigation was carried out, and even supplying to buy back Volts if asked to by worried owners.
Getting under the public microscope as it is, GM has been careful how it presents itself, but it has conceded what it has completed has been from a defensive position, and the biased and polemical sociopolitical setting it is striving against is becoming obvious.
Even normally conservative automotive publications have observed the complications with which plug-in vehicles have had to contend.
For example, WardsAuto has commented on the politicized nature of issues. And worse than an attack on a auto, firm or administration, it sees the Volt’s Batterygate issue as part of a broader cultural dilemma adversely affecting American competitiveness.
In quick, Wards contends U.S. innovation is being killed off by factional and divisive interests who brand a particular creation as belonging to their opponents, as an excerpt following shows:
The type of innovation that builds new industries and generates tens of 1000′s of good jobs here in the U.S. is dying. Truly, dying is also kind a word. Innovation is currently being murdered in America.
… Nowhere is this clearer than in the situation of the Chevy Volt. It is the most revolutionary car to come out of Detroit in a generation, yet Republicans are attempting to kill it and Democrats and environmentalists are not digging into their very own pockets to show it the support they say it deserves.
Yes, perceptions against the Volt are currently being portrayed as primarily based on some information mixed with an unhealthy dose of either inadvertent or deliberate concern mongering.
Speaking of which, some have also alleged GM’s provide of loaners, buybacks and now this battery method reinforcement were produced simply because secretly it knew there were bigger technical issues to cover itself against, but GM Spokesman Rob Peterson mentioned this is not the situation.
The large-sufficient matter is the exact same as it ever was – redeeming post-bankruptcy GM’s name from the poor rap it got in some quarters above the a long time, and proving the Volt is viable.
“People’s impressions of Standard Motors go back a long time and it will take time and it will take deeds – not always words – to prove that getting satisfied consumers is what we’re out to accomplish,” Peterson explained.
He noted that the most recent Consumer Reports’ 93-percent rating for the Volt can make it amount one particular in owner satisfaction and exceeds even a runner up from Porsche costing twice as much.
The Volt has also accrued a sizable list of awards, but did miss a aim of 10,000 U.S. sales this year in component, it is believed, since of repeated attempts to bring it down.
Throughout its inaugural year critics threw what allegations they could at the Volt, the media responded to the story du jour in predictable style, but 1 by one perceived issues were shown to be exaggerated and each and every “news cycle” died a organic death.
As for this most recent problem, observers say GM wants to place it behind it, restore any lost self-confidence in its halo vehicle and nascent market, and prepare to sell as numerous as 60,000 a lot more Volts throughout the world this year.
Now that the Volt is offered in all 50 states, and getting exported to Canada and to Europe as the Volt and Opel/Vauxhall Ampera sister automobile, this year will be much more telling how “ready for prime time” the Volt truly is.
Incoming search terms:
- Powered by Article Dashboard falsification