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GM Volt e-car battery safe, say feds

No design flaws in cooling system

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General Motors' Chevy Volt e-car does not sport a defective design, the US' National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has judged.

This week the Administration closed its formal probe, launched in November 2011, into potential problems with the Volt's battery cooling kit.

Past test prangs had exposed the possibility that a crash could crack the system, leading to an increased risk of the battery overheating, potentially causing the vehicle to catch fire.

However, this week the agency ruled 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".

The NHTSA re-iterated its previous comment that it knows of no incidence in the real world in which an e-car from any manufacturer has crashed and then or later experienced an incendiary incident. The Volts which did catch fire did so after very specific impact tests carried out by the NHTSA.

The Volt will go on sale in the UK in March as the Vauxhall Ampera. ®

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