2011 Chevrolet Volt: Still Very Safe, Says IIHS
December 06, 2011
The Volt did exceptionally well in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) back when the model was first introduced for the 2011 model year. That organization gave it the highest score possible in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash testing, and named it a Top Safety Pick.
Given the car's troubles with post-crash battery fires, some suspected that the IIHS would perhaps give the car a less glowing rating for 2012, but that isn't the case.
The safety group reports that it found no evidence of damage to the Volt's battery pack during its tests, and the car has retained its Top Safety Pick designation for 2012.
Says IIHS spokesman Russ Rader: "If we had found that the battery pack had been damaged or certainly if we had subsequent concerns about fire risk -- that would have raised red flags."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) -- the federal regulators that launched the investigation into the safety of the Volt's battery pack back on November 25 -- also reports that it has no plans to change the Volt's safety rating for 2012. NHTSA currently gives the car a perfect five-star overall safety rating.
GM is reportedly close to a fix that would eliminate the risk of a fire being triggered in the Volt's battery days after a crash. Repairs under discussion involve laminating the circuitry of the car's battery pack and beefing up the case that encloses the lithium-ion battery.
At this point, repairs are expected to run GM about $9 million in total, which works out to about $1,000 per Volt.
Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor