Concerns over coolant leak fires addressed; UK Volts and Amperas will be built with modifications

General Motors has modified the vehicle structure and battery coolant system of the Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall Ampera, following concerns in the US that an electrical fire could occur after a severe crash.

Concerns were raised by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Preliminary Evaluation when it examined post-severe crash battery performance. During its tests, a battery fire occurred six days after a severe-impact.

“The Volt has always been safe to drive. Now, we will go the extra mile to ensure our customers’ peace of mind in the days and weeks following a severe crash,” said Mary Barra, GM senior vice president of Global Product Development.

Modifications include strengthening an existing portion of both cars' safety structure to further protect the battery pack in a severe side collision. A sensor in the reservoir of the battery coolant system has also been added to monitor coolant levels, and a tamper-resistant bracket has been fitted on top of the battery coolant reservoir to help prevent potential coolant overfill.

All Volts and Amperas that will be sold in the UK will be manufactured with the modifications in place, meaning buyers will not be subject to any recalls.

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Ampera
The handsome Ampera is primarily propelled by electric motors; a 1.4-litre petrol engine is used to charge the car's batteries

The Vauxhall Ampera promises the ability to cover 175 miles on a gallon of petrol. Does it deliver?

Join the debate


6 January 2012

Hopefully this will lay to rest some of the hysteria that was created in the US press about safety issues.

This car deserves to do well.



It's all about the twisties........

7 January 2012

Agree that the Volt deserves to do well but this should not have happened in the first place.

7 January 2012

Nice to see they're protecting their own. If this was a Foreign product (Toyota?) they would be treated like terrorists.

Back to FWD Sad

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