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Published December 03, 2011, 06:19 PM

GF Volt Owner: 'I'm not worried about the battery'

General Motors is offering to buy back Chevy Volts from owners worried the plug-in extended-range electric car will catch fire. A Grand Forks man was the first in the state to buy the car last year and says he's not concerned.

It's not what's under the hood of the Chevy Volt that has caught the attention of General Motors, it's what's under the seats.

"450 pound, t-shaped battery pack that comes in from underneath the car, goes down the center of the car and across behind the backseats," Lon Shroyer, a Chevy Volt owner from Grand Forks, said.

Three lithium ion batteries caught fire weeks after the federal government conducted extreme side impact tests.

"After an accident you should discharge the battery because you've got a lot of voltage pent up there that it's just dangerous, you just want to get rid of it. And they didn't, they didn't discharge the battery," Shroyer explained.

The fires have prompted General Motors to offer loaner cars to unsatisfied owners. So far, only two of the 6,000 owners have taken that offer.

"This car, I don't think is any more risky than a car that you're sitting on 20 gallons of gas, that's pretty volatile too," Shroyer said.

It's the battery that initially caught Shroyer's attention. He had his eye on this car when he first saw the concept model. The Volt is unique because once the battery is drained, the car automatically taps into the gas tank.

"Most people looking at this car, if they're serious about buying it, they do have all the research and knowledge on the car when they walk in," Rydell Auto Salesman Jeff Tarr said.

General Motors has maintained that the Volt is a safe car, as there have been no consumer incidents. The Volt battery is becoming an industry standard. Other auto makers designing cars similar to the Volt are using the same lithium battery.

"The Tesla, the Leaf, the Volt and the Ford Focus coming out, they all use the lithium ion battery," Shroyer said.

Shroyer purchased his Volt from Rydell's in February. And says he wouldn't want General Motors to buy it back from him.

"I mean these batteries are used in every cellphone, every laptop. Just a little proper management and safety and I'm not too concerned about it at all," Shroyer said.

If necessary, GM says it will recall all Volts and repair them once the company and federal safety regulators figure out what caused the fires.

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