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Mike Stevens | Jan 23, 2012

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has closed its investigation into the potential risk of fire for GM Volts that have been involved in a serious crash, effectively clearing the EV of particular hazard risk.

Opened on November 25 in response to reports of a small number of Volt cars suffering battery fires after on-road accidents, the investigation concluded that "no discernable defect trend exists".

"NHTSA remains unaware of any real-world crashes that have resulted in a battery-related fire involving the Chevy Volt or any other electric vehicle.

"Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles," it said.

The report adds that recent modifications made by GM reduce the potential for battery intrusion resulting from side impacts.

The NHTSA said that while all vehicles have some risk of fire in the event of a serious crash, "electric vehicles have specific attributes that should be made clear to consumers, the emergency response community and tow truck operators".

The NHTSA has teamed with America's National Fire Protection Association and the Department of Energy to work with manufacturers on keeping buyers and emergency response services up to date with evolving alternative-energy vehicle technology.

In a statement today, GM said that the engineering enhancements to the Volt will provide "additional protection for the battery, minimising the risk of a post-crash fire in the days and weeks after a severe crash or rollover".

"The voluntary action that GM is taking is intended to make a safe vehicle even safer. In fact, the Volt has earned top safety ratings from key third-party organisations such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which designated it a Top Safety Pick," the statement reads.

The Holden Volt will make its Australian debut later this year, arriving with the latest safety improvements already onboard.

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