March 22 General Motors Co said on
Thursday it will replace the 120-volt charging cords for most
Chevrolet Volt electric cars.
The exchange affects all 2011 model plug-in electric hybrid
Volts and some 2012 models, GM spokesman Randal Fox said. He did
not know the total number affected, but said it was fewer than
the more than 11,000 Volts sold so far. The car sells for just
under $40,000 before federal subsidies of $7,500.
Yahoo Autos first reported the swap, citing consumer
complaints about overheating cords. However, Fox said the
exchange was not to address overheating.
"It's just an effort to offer a more consistent charging
experience," Fox said. "It's not a safety recall. It's more of a
"We made some enhancements to the design to add some
durability and reliability," he said. For example, GM increased
the cord's cable size to enhance durability, he said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an
investigation on Nov. 25 into the safety of the Volt's battery
pack after its own repeated tests uncovered fire risks.
The fires occurred after NHTSA crash tests or other tests
where the car's lithium-ion batteries were purposely damaged.
NHTSA closed its probe in January without finding any defects
and expressed satisfaction with GM's fix to better protect the
lithium-ion battery pack by adding steel reinforcements and
other steps to prevent coolant fluid from leaking and triggering
Some felt the probe was unnecessary, but the Volt has
received outsized attention despite its small sales totals as
many Republicans have criticized the car's sales and the federal
subsidies its buyers receive. GM idled the Volt assembly plant
in Michigan for five weeks due to weaker demand.
GM Chief Executive Dan Akerson in January said the Volt got
"disproportionate scrutiny" because it had become a surrogate
for election-year politics and commentary on Obama
administration policy. GM has showcased the electric car as the
centerpiece of efforts on fuel efficiency and cutting edge
Volt owners will be notified of the exchange in the next few
weeks and as they bring in their cars for the battery
enhancement they will also receive the new cords, Fox said.
The new cords will not change recharging time and the
exchange does not affect the 240-volt cords, he said.