On Friday, the General Motors (GM) product chief Mary Barra told the Automotive Press Association that the engineers at the company are trying to ascertain the cause of the two post-crash-test fires in the lithium-ion battery of the Chevrolet Volt; and that notable design changes could be made to the plug-in car's battery in order to make it "more robust."
Stating that the close examination of the Volt fires is essentially aimed at giving the GM engineers a better understanding of the basics about electric vehicles, Barra revealed that one of the possibilities that was being studied included the likelihood of the fires originating from coolant leaks resulting from damaged batteries, with the coolant having apparently interacted with the electronics of the car.
The analysis of the Volt fires by the automaker's engineers comes in the wake of the last-week-initiated government safety investigation. The probe was the outcome of the reported fires in two Volt batteries, at least a week after they had been damaged in the crash tests carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
While GM has already said that the Volt fires could have been averted if the batteries of the car had been drained after the crashes, Barra said that GM and government engineers are working in tandem, "just trying to understand what happened."
Meanwhile, the federal investigation has already prompted GM to offer loaner vehicles to concerned owners as well as set up a Volt Repurchase Team to buy back the cars from the unsatisfied customers.