Shocking- Another secret Chevy Volt investigation

Shocking- Another secret Chevy Volt investigation

There may be more irony with the Chevy Volt electric car than ever before. A driver from California made a complaint to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that was literally shocking. As the driver was shifting gears they received a significant electric shock from the gear shifter. When the incident occurred, the driver was able to remove their hand before the muscles contracted which could have resulted in further electrocution. The driver suffered significant electrical shock injury with pain, shock, soreness, numbness, and tingling sensation.

When reported to GM, the driver was instructed to call 911 so that they could disconnect the power. GM agreed to buy back this vehicle which had other issues, such as it turning itself on and off. Though the driver isn’t ready or may not sue GM, they do want for other owners to be informed of the incident. So far, GM has not honored the driver’s request.

This is not the first time that an investigation or problem with the Chevy Volt has been kept quiet. The last investigation was started when an incident was reported of a Chevy Volt catching on fire from a battery coolant leak. After about two months of testing and an official investigation no defects in the Volt were found. The investigation was not released to the public until about five months after all the tests and analysis had been done.

GM did agree to conduct a “free-of-charge customer satisfaction campaign,” which was an unregulated recall on 14,735 vehicles manufactured before December 21, 2011. The campaign helped strengthen the structure of the vehicle where the battery intrusion occurred, adding a battery HV coolant loss sensor, control system software that alerts the driver and prevents recharging of the HV battery, and a tamper-proofing device that prevents consumers from adding coolant.

The issue of the electric shock with the Volt is serious. The National Fire Protection Association and GM partnered to train a responder how to safely de-power a Volt and fight battery fire. It takes a lot of direct current voltage to produce that much of a shock. It will be interesting to see how GM handles this situation and if there will be more incidents.

Source: Safety Research and Strategies, “Another Secret Chevy Volt Investigation?” March 5, 2013.

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