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GM to Replace Volt Charger Cords – Says Problem is Consistency, Not Overheating

GM is to replace the 120-volt charger cords in most of the 9,500 Chevrolet Volts it has sold since late 2010, according to reports.

Stories of overheating and melting 120-volt charging cords first surfaced four months ago on Yahoo Autos. At the time GM said the issue was most likely a problem with wiring in outlets.

But this week GM changed its mind and will now replace the cords with a more heat-resistant cord and plug, Yahoo Autos reports.

GM has released a statement saying it does not consider the problem a recall or safety issue but expects the new cord to “offer a more consistent charging experience.” Volt owners will be notified of the cord swap by mail, the web site reports.

The company will not replace cords on some cars, built after February 5, that already have the newer cords. Nor will it replace the optional 240-volt power cords, reports The Detroit News.

The 120-volt chargers are not meant for everyday use, but many Volt owners use them to top up batteries on longer journeys, Yahoo reports.

In November last year, GM blamed government testers for a fire that engulfed one of its plug-in Chevrolet Volt cars three weeks after testing at a federal facility. The company said that officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not follow GM protocol after the damage occurred during a crash test.

In December, GM offered to buy back Volts from any consumer concerned about fire risk. The following month it announced changes to the vehicle structure and battery coolant system. GM said it would strengthen an existing portion of the Volt’s vehicle safety structure, add a sensor to measure coolant levels, and add a tamper-resistant bracket to help prevent coolant overfill.

But in January, the NHTSA declared the Volt safe, after completing months of testing into the risk of post-crash fires posed by the car’s lithium-ion battery. The tests concluded that no “discernible defect trend exists” with the battery.

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