GM offers free loaner cars after Volt battery fires

Posted by Mark Raby

If you own a Volt, GM is willing to offer you a free alternative car for the time being, while it is the subject of a national safety investigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that during tests of the vehicle, three of them had batteries that caught fire.

The first one occurred a few days after the car was put through a collision test. This prompted the agency to conduct more tests, and now it is up to GM to work with regulators to find a solution to the problem.

The results were announced late last week. GM was quick to respond, saying, "We will take every precaution to ensure the driving public of the safety of the Volt," as quoted by Business Week.

The safety agency also noted that it knows of no Volts that have caught fire due to the battery issue outside of its confined tests.

As for addressing the issue, the company said, "We developed a process to depower the battery after a crash. The battery assemblies were not depowered. We believe that if they were depowered the fire would not have occurred."

The Volt is perhaps GM's best-known electric car, and this is a potential PR disaster. To lessen the blow, the automaker has said anyone who purchased a Volt is eligible for a free loaner while the issue is investigated, whether or not they've had trouble with their specific model.

So far this year, GM is believed to have sold roughly 5,000 Volts.