Print 61 comment(s) - last by The Raven.. on Jan 10 at 11:21 AM

GM is looking to pull in all 8,000 Volts off the road as well as the 4,400 for sale

General Motors (GM) is launching a customer service campaign, which is similar to a recall, on 8,000 Chevrolet Volts running on U.S. roads in an effort to address possible battery fire issues.

In May 2011, Chevrolet's plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (EV), the Volt, caught fire three weeks after a side-impact crash test conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Volt was parked in a NHTSA testing facility in Wisconsin. The fire provoked an investigation into the safety of lithium batteries.

Later in November 2011, NHTSA conducted three more side-impact crash tests on three separate Volts. Two out of three ended up sparking or catching fire while the third remained normal.

GM took action right away, saying it will make any changes necessary to keep drivers safe. The automaker even offered loaner vehicles to Volt drivers that didn't feel safe in their vehicles, and said it'd buy Volts back from owners that requested to sell.

Now, GM is advising Volt owners to bring their EVs to the dealerships for a customer service campaign, which is like a recall but without the bad publicity attached. There are currently 8,000 Volts on U.S. roads and another 4,400 in showrooms for sale.

Dealers will address the battery issues by adding steel to the plate that protects the EV's T-shaped, 400-pound battery. This will prevent penetration into the battery in case of an auto accident, which will ultimately stop coolant from leaking. It will also evenly distribute the force of a crash.

NHTSA already tested Volts with the new added steel around the battery in December, and found that it was the right fix for the problem. However, it will continue to monitor the car for another week to make sure that it doesn't catch fire later on like the Volt back in May managed to do.

"The preliminary results of the crash test indicate the remedy proposed by General Motors today should address the issue," said NHTSA.

"We have tested the Volt's battery systems through [the equivalent of] 25 years of operation," said Mary Barra, GM's vice president for global product development. "We're taking these steps to provide peace of mind to our customers."

Sources: InsideBayArea, CNN

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RE: Volt Outsells the Prius
By The Raven on 1/9/2012 10:57:59 AM , Rating: 2
I'm having trouble following you here. Regardless of other cost to use oil, it is included if you drive a Hummer or a Prius.

And if you are talking about the Volt specifically know that it is largely powered by another fossil fuel...coal. So instead of "No Blood for Oil" protestors would chant "No Blood for Coal" if everyone drove a Volt. Reason being that there is not enough coal in the US to power all of our vehicles. So where is the difference there?

How exactly do we subsidize policy decisions? You mean with our two-party votes? Yeah I guess you would have a point there. Those are subsudizing our crappy FP. Vote Libertarian/Ron Paul or any other small gov't 3rd party if you want to change that.

We don't need taxes and subsidies that might sway a few hundred people. We need a more free market that would naturally increase/decrease the cost of fuel (i.e. regulate fuel prices) and sway millions not to burn as much of it.

RE: Volt Outsells the Prius
By Mint on 1/9/2012 11:51:56 AM , Rating: 2
Reason being that there is not enough coal in the US to power all of our vehicles
Where did you get that from?

140B gallons of gasoline per year would need maybe 1.5TWh of electricity to replace, and that would be 20+ years from now (we can't replace 200 million cars instantly). We'd probably only wind up replacing the imported part of it (roughly half). And who said we have to use coal? Why not nuclear? Even CCGT is almost as cheap as coal nowadays.

Adding 20% to electricity generation in 20 years is a piece of cake for the US. EVs will probably wind up bringing average electricity cost down, because they charge primarily at night, when we have surplus capacity anyway. We'd only need a few percent higher capacity, and existing plants would increase their capacity factor.

RE: Volt Outsells the Prius
By The Raven on 1/10/2012 11:21:12 AM , Rating: 2
Where did you get that from?
To be honest it is just a guess based on the fact that gasoline has a higher energy content.
It is roughly 50% more powerful.

On the other hand I would like to know where you got your numbers (not that I necessarily doubt them).
And who said we have to use coal? Why not nuclear? Even CCGT is almost as cheap as coal nowadays.

I didn't say that we had to use coal, but the fact remains that coal is the majority (link below) here in the US and I just read somewhere that in China (as an important global example) it is 80% of their power source.

And yes, I am all for nuclear power proliferation and especially research. Unfortunately it is more difficult to convince a Harvard educated man that nuclear is a great option than it is to convince Joe Sixpack to use a CFL.

But having said that, ideally I think that we should reduce our consumption of power regardless of the source. If we were beholden to the real price we would think twice before leaving our PCs on all day. And the real price doesn't include subsidies like this (and of course others like housing credits, etc.).

But to get back to my response to you, I fail to see what you think the power grid will be powered by in the future. You see nuclear as the majority source of power? Renewables only account for ~10% of generation now. What do you think it will rise to? Nat Gas will be gone by 2070 from what I have read, so that is what we would be looking at, something like 80% nuclear and 20% renewable.

Having said all of this, I am not against electric cars and may want to buy one myself one day, my point is that they should not be subsidized. Neither 'coal' nor 'oil' powered cars should be subsidized.

Anyway maybe I am wrong and we could use some subsidies. Subsidizing bikes would be a much better idea. Reduce carbon emissions, commute costs and solve the obesity epidemic in one fell swoop.

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