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Government Closes Volt Probe, Says Car Is Safe

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Chevy Volt electric vehicles and Opel Amperas come off the line at the General Motors Detroit Hamtramck Assembly Plant October 11, 2011 in Hamtramck, Michigan. (credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Chevy Volt electric vehicles and Opel Amperas come off the line at the General Motors Detroit Hamtramck Assembly Plant October 11, 2011 in Hamtramck, Michigan. (credit: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

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  autos arrows plug v2 Government Closes Volt Probe, Says Car Is Safe

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The government is ending its safety investigation into the Chevrolet Volt.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday that it’s closing the probe and believes the Volt and other electric cars don’t pose a greater risk of fire than gas-powered vehicles.

The agency started studying the Volt last June after a fire broke out in a Volt three weeks after it was crashed in a safety test but discovered no fires in real-world crashes.

WWJ AutoBeat Reporter Jeff Gibert said the NHTSA announcement basically echos what GM has been saying all along — that the fire was an isolated case, it happened well after the crash test and likely be prevented by the fixes that GM has put into place.

General Motors Co. announced earlier this month that it will add steel plates to the 12,000 existing Volts to protect the batteries in the event of a crash.

NHTSA says that based on the investigation, it has developed guidelines for firefighters and other responders on how to handle electric cars after a crash.

GM has always stood by the safety of the Volt, GM spokesman said Friday he’s glad to hear the government investigation essentially clears the vehicle’s name.

But this isn’t quite the end of the story.

Gilbert says, despite this decision, GM CEO Dan Akerson will still need to testify at a hearing next Wednesday on the time that it took for the government to make word of the fires public.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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