GM’s electric car, Chevrolet Volt, presents fire danger

All manufacturers of consumer products should be willing to report all potential known dangers to Massachusetts consumers in order to protect them from the possibility of sustaining personal injuries because of a defective product.

Auto manufacturers, in particular, are responsible to ensure the safety of their vehicles. If a danger is known to car makers, then those auto defects must be corrected and consumers must be notified of the danger.

GM appears to be doing just that. The auto manufacturer’s plug-in vehicle, the Chevrolet Volt has caught fire in crash tests. GM has since offered free loaner vehicles for any Volt owner who has concerns over the safety of the vehicle.

This quick response will hopefully appease owners of the vehicles who may be concerned if the car is involved in a car accident and a fire results. However, without recalling the vehicles many drivers will still be on the road behind the wheel of the potentially dangerous vehicle.

The danger surrounds the internal lithium battery which can catch on fire if it receives an impact in a car accident. The danger, though not immediate, can result in an electrical fire if the battery is not drained from the damaged vehicle.

GM certainly hopes to alleviate customer fears until the issue is resolved. The vehicles are currently under investigation by federal safety officials, along with GM’s own engineers. By studying the problem and communicating with the public, GM is hoping to bring transparency and candor to an industry that has not always been forthcoming about known dangers.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “GM learns from Toyota how not to handle a crisis,” Jerry Hirsch, Nov. 29, 2011