Mary Barra prepared remarks on Volt Enhancements(Speaker¶s words are definitive)
Good morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us.We¶re here to announce enhancements we will put in place to make all Volts even safer. Yes, I said³safer.´ The Volt is safe. In fact, it is rated a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for HighwaySafety and has earned other safety awards from key 3
party organizations. These enhancementsdirectly address the concerns identified by the post severe crash testing. A little over a month ago, Mark (Reuss) and I walked through the various measures we were taking toaddress concerns about an electrical fire that occurred several days after a severe crash test.I mentioned then that GM had formed a senior engineering investigation team. This team studiedpotential engineering changes to the Volt, which would help to reduce the risk of post-crash electricalfires after a severe side impact.Over the past few weeks, GM engineers have completed development and validation on a set of proposed enhancements and we have shared them with the NHTSA staff.We ran a series of internal tests and all successfully resulted in no battery pack intrusion or coolantleakage, thereby eliminating the chance for a post-crash electrical fire for this test condition.So this leads us to today¶s announcement.If you¶ll remember, NHTSA began testing the Volt battery after one of the vehicles it crash tested in Maycaught fire three weeks after the test. We cooperated fully with NHTSA during the testing and analysisperiod. Based on this work, GM determined the fire was the result of a minor intrusion from a portion of the vehicle into a side section of the battery pack.
This intrusion resulted in a small coolant leak insidethe battery, approximately 50 ml or one-quarter cup of fluid. As part of NHTSA¶s test procedure, the vehicle was put through a ³slow roll,´ where it¶s rotated at 90degree increments, holding in each position for about five minutes
During the ³slow roll,´ an additionalone liter (about four and a quarter cups) of coolant leaked. While in the 180 degree position, which isupside down, the coolant came in contact with the printed circuit board electronics at the top of thebattery pack. Three weeks later this condition, in combination with a charged battery, led to electricalactivity that resulted in the post-crash fire.I want to say this right up front: Through the first 11 months of 2011, Volt owners accumulated morethan 20 million miles without any incident similar to NHTSA¶s tests results in May or November.With that said, we are choosing to go the extra mile to ensure our customers¶ peace of mind. GM willconduct a Customer Satisfaction Program and implement structural and cooling system enhancementsto further protect the Volt battery from the possibility of an electrical fire occurring days or weeks after asevere side crash.First, we¶re going to strengthen an existing portion of the vehicle¶s safety structure that protects thebattery pack in the event of a severe side collision.I¶ll show you what I mean. As you can see the current steel tunnel of the car acts as a safety cagesurrounding the battery pack. The side pole test impacts the car directly in line with the cross car