US launches Chevy Volt fire probe

The US government is investigating General Motors' Chevrolet Volt, due to be launched in the UK next year, after new battery pack fires in the high-tech electric car.

One Volt lithium-ion battery pack that was being closely monitored following a government crash test caught fire on Thursday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said, and another recently crash-tested battery emitted smoke and sparks.

GM said the Volt "is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash".

The latest fires follow a battery fire in a crash-tested Volt six months ago.

NHTSA learned of a possible fire risk involving damaged Volt batteries when a fire erupted in a Volt that was being stored in a car park at a test centre in Burlington, Wisconsin. The fire was severe enough to cause several other vehicles parked nearby to catch fire.

So far no fires have been reported in Volts involved in road crashes, NHTSA said. More than 5,000 of the vehicles have been sold.

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