The Detroit News is reporting that General Motors will replace the 120-volt power cords on the majority of Chevrolet Volt models the company has sold since 2010. The new charge cords are said to be more durable than the old hardware and should provide "more consistency in charging," according to the report. GM has sold around 10,000 Volt units since the plug-in hybrid went on sale two years ago, and while some of those vehicles have already shipped with the new charge cords, most still use the old design. GM's Randy Fox told AutoblogGreen that all 2011 model year and most of the 2012 model year Volts will get the updated cords. The new version has a thicker AC plug cord (the short end of the charge unit, from the charger to the wall) and a new design that relieves some strain points on the longer end of the unit, the side with the J1772 connector.
Fox said that the new cords are not related to the overheating problems we heard about last year. Instead, some Volt customers returned their units for replacement last fall, and GM engineers saw the update as something that could be done to "enhance the customer experience." In the cases where overheating was reported, Fox said, GM found most of them were caused by a worn or damaged AC wall outlet. Fox would not disclose how much this replacement program would cost GM, but extra 120V cords cost between $360 and up.
Fox added that, since many Volt owners need to contact their Chevrolet dealers to begin scheduling appointments to have additional crash structure enhancements added around the vehicle's battery packs, they can be given the new cords when they come in for the repair. The additional steel is designed to protect against severe side-impacts. Technicians are also expected to add a new sensor to monitor battery coolant levels. The changes are in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation into unlikely vehicle fires. GM will reportedly continue to sell Volt models without the new structure and sensor, saying neither poses a safety issue.