Chevrolet will replacing many 120-volt charging cords for free
Chevy stresses that the program is not a recall
Owners will be notified in the next few weeks
General Motors will soon launch a new customer satisfaction initiative designed to give Chevrolet Volt owners a more consistent charging experience. The automaker recently announced the program, which will provide new charging cords for free to many current Volt owners.
According to General Motors, the new initiative will replace the 120-volt cords on all 2011 and many 2012 versions of its plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt. The automaker says 240-volt cords are not affected, and that the program isn't necessitated by safety concerns, but is designed to make recharging more reliable for owners of the fuel-efficient hatchback.
"It's just an effort to offer a more consistent charging experience. It's not a recall," General Motors spokesman Randal Fox told Reuters. "It's more of a customer satisfaction program."
General Motors' decision to upgrade the 120-volt cords on the Volt comes on the heels of a battery enhancement program earlier this year. In that program, Chevrolet announced it would strengthen materials surrounding the plug-in hybrid's lithium-ion battery to prevent leaking fluid from starting a fire after an accident. The automaker also announced it would add a new sensor and a tamper-proof bracket to the hatchback's coolant reservoir, both designed to prevent overfilling.
Each upgrade came after several damaged Volts caught on fire following government crash testing. After considerable examination, Chevrolet linked the fires to leaking coolant, which dripped on to the hatchback's battery and created a short circuit. No one was hurt in the fires, which occurred hours to weeks after the crash tests.
Although issues with the Volt's charging cords and lithium-ion batteries are serious, Chevrolet may be more concerned about decreasing consumer interest in the vehicle. The automaker recently announced it would idle the Michigan factory that builds the Volt for five weeks to reduce inventory, and later advertised incentives that include zero percent interest rates for up to five years.
Chevrolet says Volt owners affected by the cord exchange will be notified over the next few weeks.
What it means to you: The Volt's newest customer satisfaction program proves Chevrolet is serious about ensuring owners get a high-quality EV experience.