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Dealerships are turning down Volts GM wants to send them due to the recent battery fires and lack of sales

Earlier this month, GM announced that it was looking to pull in all 8,000 Chevrolet Volts off U.S. roads as well as the 4,400 for sale in showrooms for a battery recall. Volt dealers addressed the battery issues by adding steel to the plate that protects the EV's T-shaped, 400-pound battery. This steel would protect any penetration that could occur in an auto accident, and also evenly distribute the force of a crash. NHTSA tested the steel addition and announced that it would be a good fix.

Fixing the battery problem still hasn't made dealers feel any better, though. In fact, some Chevrolet dealers are turning away Volts that GM wants to ship to them partially because they're waiting for the fire situation to settle, and partially because the car just isn't selling the way GM wants it to.

Last month, GM sent 104 Volts to 14 dealers in the New York City market. The dealers only took 31 of them, which is the lowest rate take for any Chevrolet model in that particular market last month according to Automotive News.

Over on the west coast, Brett Hedrick, dealer principal at Hedrick's Chevrolet in Clovis, California, sold only 10 Volts last year total. For December 2011 and January 2012, he turned down all six Volt EVs allocated to him.

"[GM's] thinking we need six more Volts is just crazy," said Hedrick. "We've never sold more than two in a month."

This is particularly odd because Hedrick said he normally accepts most of the vehicles that GM allocates to his dealership.

GM sold a total of 7,671 Volts in the U.S. in 2011, which didn't quite hit the 10,000 mark the automaker was hoping for. Now, instead of pursuing the original Volt production goal of 60,000 units (where 75 percent would be for U.S. sales) for 2012, GM said it would simply make as many as customers wanted.

Rob Peterson, a GM spokesman, said that dealers were indeed making less Volt orders in recent months and that the dealers were "waiting for resolution of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's investigation."

Back in May 2011, GM's Chevrolet Volt underwent a series of tests at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) facility in Wisconsin. Three weeks after a side-impact crash test conducted on May 12, the Volt caught fire while parked in the testing center.

The fire prompted an investigation of the safety of lithium batteries used in plug-in electric vehicles. Lithium batteries can catch fire if the internal cells or the battery case are pierced by steel or another ferrous metal. In November, NHTSA conducted three additional side-impact crash tests with three separate Volts, and two out of the three sparked/caught fire after testing.

These battery issues caught a lot of attention from GM, customers, NHTSA and now dealers. GM was more than willing to do whatever it took to fix the problem, including offering loaner vehicles to scared Volt drivers and buying back Volts from any owner that asks.

GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson was called to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in regards to the Volt's battery fires last year. This testimony coupled with the recent recall should hopefully offer some resolution and put worried minds at ease.

Source: Automotive News



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RE: Imagine That....
By rudolphna on 1/23/2012 6:00:44 PM , Rating: 4
I could bring up Honda's timebomb 60,000 mile odyssey transmissions. I could bring up Nissans 2.5L catalytic converters that grind the engine into bits. I could bring up Toyota's 1ZFE engines and their sludge problems. I could bring up Toyota's Tacoma/Tundra frame rot problems. I could bring up Honda's Accord V6 transmission problems. I could bring up Ford's CD4E debacle, Modular Spark plug problems.

But I won't. Because that would be pointless bashing. But even all those would still be less pointless than your utterly useless post that contributes absolutely nothing.

Have a nice day.


RE: Imagine That....
By Reclaimer77 on 1/23/2012 6:25:07 PM , Rating: 1
Were dealers saying to Toyota, Nissan, and Ford "no thanks" to shipments on those vehicles because of the defects AND total lack of consumer demand?


RE: Imagine That....
By quiksilvr on 1/23/2012 7:41:46 PM , Rating: 2
...How the hell does a catalytic converter grind up an engine?


RE: Imagine That....
By Icebain on 1/23/2012 8:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
Back pressure can cause excessive pressure/heat on the rings causing bore scoring and eventual compression degradation.


RE: Imagine That....
By rudolphna on 1/24/2012 11:47:26 AM , Rating: 2
The earlier 2.5l had a precarious in the exhaust manifold. Usually between 45-75k miles it would disintegrate and fall through the exhaust valves into the cylinders and destroy the cylinders and pistons.


RE: Imagine That....
By xeno81 on 1/25/2012 9:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
Mine never got to that point, in a sense. My 2002 Spec-V had horrible oil consumption issues ever since I bought it, I went through two transmissions because the gear synchros kept eating themselves (yes simply shifting into 6th to cruise, ended up grenading the first one) and the second one I checked when it started acting up and NO they did NOT install the revised trans, the MAF died at 24K, and the front and rear bumpers started to discolor.

I never had a chance for the butterfly screws to back out and fall into the intake, before I had them take it away.

All of this before 2 years and 26,000 miles of ownership.

Yet mysteriously, my catalytic was fine. Or was it... they claimed my VIN wasn't "within the affected range".


RE: Imagine That....
By xeno81 on 1/25/2012 9:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
As a note, the first trans died within 6,000 miles.


RE: Imagine That....
By jiffylube1000 on 1/23/12, Rating: -1
RE: Imagine That....
By matty67 on 1/24/2012 1:19:16 AM , Rating: 2
How is it a "bomb on wheels" when the car is totaled? I'd agree if it happened after a bump or something but these were severe crashes. It's like there's a gas leak... If not dealt with you're gonna have problems. Have you ever seen a lead acid battery explode? It's pretty amazing and by comparison that's like a AAA battery.


RE: Imagine That....
By BSMonitor on 1/24/2012 8:49:36 AM , Rating: 2
Don't trivialize with facts. This is what every selfish POS American was hoping for. ANY reason to throw dirt on the most interesting of the EV's so that they can sleep well knowing they bought their wife a 2500HD Silverado that gets 12 MPG city.

There was NEVER any real threat to any consumer. But, traditional media loves a story regardless of facts. And then once public opinion believes it, it not longer matters what the facts are. Everyone just KNOWS.


RE: Imagine That....
By rdhood on 1/24/2012 9:49:52 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking of facts, how about sticking to the facts.

* GM is currently looking into the problem. All of you who are quoting "facts" haven't mentioned any real facts because the assumptions you are making haven't proven to be true.

* There is no evidence, yet, that ONLY collisions serious enough to total the car will cause fires. These are assumptions and here say that you made up!

* There IS evidence that the fires can occur spontaneously after a couple of weeks. Take damaged car to garage or home. It catches fire... could be indoors, and the resulting damage to home would not be pretty. Once a car is hit... and we don't know yet exactly what kind of hit requires a battery replacement... there is a danger of fire to the car and to any enclosed space housing the car. This is not inconsequential. If one of these things causes a house/garage fire, lives and property are at stake. This cannot be dismissed, and I wouldn't want one of these things in my garage after ANY accident until GM comes clean on the true dangers.

It is absolute that batteries damaged will require a very expensive replacement, and it is not clear exactly what kind of collision will be cause for replacement. Until those issues are CLEAR, I don't want to be on the hook for multi-thousand dollar replacement over any kind of collision.

So instead of mocking the bomb-on-wheels comment, how about sticking to the facts and realize the potential for property fire/personal injury due to latent battery damage, as well as the extremely expensive proposition of battery replacement. Those are reason enough NOT to buy this car as it is today.


RE: Imagine That....
By Gungel on 1/24/2012 10:16:00 AM , Rating: 2
Most of the "facts" on your list have been debunked. You're a week behind.


RE: Imagine That....
By gregpet on 1/24/2012 1:53:43 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, here is a FACT:
"Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles."

http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/20...


RE: Imagine That....
By rdhood on 1/24/2012 4:01:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Actually, here is a FACT: "Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles


Read your own d**n document! It says exactly what I said. More specifically, your quote refers to immediate danger of fire. I was speaking to the extended danger of fire. And what does the NHTSA say about that? Lets quote from the Interim Guides that are direct linked from the same page as your pitiful quote:

• Do not store a severely damaged vehicle with a lithium-ion battery inside a structure or within 50 feet of any structure
or vehicle.
• Ensure that passenger and cargo compartments remain ventilated.
• Prior to placing and while located in storage area/tow lot, continue to inspect vehicle for leaking fluids, sparks, smoke,
flames, gurgling or bubbling sounds from the HV battery and call 911 if any of these are detected.
• Maintain clear access to stored vehicles for monitoring and emergency response if needed.

Why all of this? BECAUSE A DAMAGED BATTERY IS A FIRE HAZARD.


RE: Imagine That....
By gregpet on 1/24/2012 4:22:14 PM , Rating: 2
Just like you aren't going to take your totaled Yugo home and park it in your garage with the tank leaking gasoline on to the floor - you shouldn't take a totaled Volt home and park it in your garage!

It's really not that complicated. When you total a vehicle it needs to be handled properly (regardless if it is electric or gas)! The NHTSA clearly doesn't feel that an electric vehicle is ANY MORE dangerous than a gasoline powered vehicle with regards to a fire hazard.


RE: Imagine That....
By Reclaimer77 on 1/25/2012 9:14:52 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Just like you aren't going to take your totaled Yugo home and park it in your garage with the tank leaking gasoline on to the floor - you shouldn't take a totaled Volt home and park it in your garage!


Are you even listening to him with your brain engaged? It's pretty obvious a car leaking fuel is a hazard. A wrecked Volt is NOT obvious. There's no way the owner can determine if the battery has been compromised or not. Or the severity of the collision required to damage it. We just don't know. Are you an expert in battery tech? Is your mechanic? Is the repair shop an expert so as to determine if the Volt can catch fire and burn the shop down? No. Nobody knows! That's the point.

You keep saying "totaled" Volt but there's no evidence that only wrecks severe enough to total the vehicle result in the battery being damaged. We just do NOT know at this point the safety parameters of the vehicle. And there's evidence that GM knew this and held back. This should have been handled before the car was even put on the market.


RE: Imagine That....
By Masospaghetti on 1/25/2012 10:04:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
We just don't know. Are you an expert in battery tech? Is your mechanic? Is the repair shop an expert so as to determine if the Volt can catch fire and burn the shop down? No. Nobody knows! That's the point.

Just because YOUR not an expert doesn't mean nobody is. The only cases that resulted in fires were from punctured coolant lines. So if your logic that leaking fuel is obvious, then leaking coolant is equally obvious, not to mention the clearly visible side impact damage.

Obviously some mechanics won't know how to assess damage to a Volt until it (or more EVs, at least) have been on the market for some time, but the dealerships would. Any new technology is going to have a learning curve.

quote:
We just do NOT know at this point the safety parameters of the vehicle. And there's evidence that GM knew this and held back.

GM stated that the batteries needed to be discharged after a collision but the NHTSA did not.

Besides, the condition that produced the fire is not at all realistic in the real world:

As part of NHTSA’s test procedure, the vehicle was put through a “slow roll,” where it’s rotated at 90 degree increments, holding in each position for about five minutes. During the “slow roll,” an additional one liter (about four and a quarter cups) of coolant leaked. While in the 180 degree position, which is upside down, the coolant came in contact with the printed circuit board electronics at the top of the battery pack. Three weeks later this condition, in combination with a charged battery, led to electrical activity that resulted in the post-crash fire.


RE: Imagine That....
By Reclaimer77 on 1/25/2012 3:36:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
GM stated that the batteries needed to be discharged after a collision but the NHTSA did not.


And who's going to do that? The owner who can barely be relied on to change his own light bulbs? Billy Bob the wrecker driver with a high school education who's never seen an EV car in his life? The shop mechanics who's job is to fix the body and paint the car, NOT to disconnect equipment?

quote:
Besides, the condition that produced the fire is not at all realistic in the real world:


So now the NHTSA doesn't know how to test vehicles? Right, good argument. You know they test regular vehicles under MANY circumstances that might not happen in the "real world", and you should be thankful they do. Because we're driving, on average, the safest cars ever made because of it.


RE: Imagine That....
By Masospaghetti on 1/26/2012 2:49:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And who's going to do that? The owner who can barely be relied on to change his own light bulbs?

The same owner (or shop owner) who is supposed to disconnect the lead-acid 12v battery from any car after a crash.
quote:
So now the NHTSA doesn't know how to test vehicles? Right, good argument.

Not at all what I said. You (and others) like to claim that the Volt is a huge safety hazard when only an extreme, unrealistic scenario produced a fire.


RE: Imagine That....
By batjohn on 1/24/2012 4:26:26 AM , Rating: 4
A friend of mine that works at the proving grounds said it only happened when a car was hit hard enough to total it out and then only after sitting in a parking lot for a week or two. So the cars in question wouldn't have even been driven after the accident. They would have in normal circumstances been taken away and junked (and I assume the battery and anything salvageable/hazardous removed).


RE: Imagine That....
By tng on 1/23/2012 9:45:43 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
I could bring... ...that would be pointless bashing. But even all those would still be less pointless than your utterly useless post that contributes absolutely nothing.
Blah, Blah, Blah.

You don't read very well. I made no comment on the reliability of the Volt, I think that is still to be determined long term.

The comment was pointed at GM who predicted that they would sell 60K Volts this year and probably will sell less this year than last year, as many of us predicted here.

Crying about it and pointing out some problems with cars that the general public actually buys is really pathetic.

Have a nice day!


RE: Imagine That....
By Masospaghetti on 1/24/2012 1:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The comment was pointed at GM who predicted that they would sell 60K Volts this year and probably will sell less this year than last year, as many of us predicted here.


I'm glad you can tell the car's yearly sales already, and it's not even February! You must make millions in the stock market.


RE: Imagine That....
By tng on 1/24/2012 5:13:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm glad you can tell the car's yearly sales already, and it's not even February!
Doesn't take a Crystal Ball, all the signs are there that even without the battery issue, sales are going to be very low. Add the fact that dealers (at least some) are refusing deliveries from GM and it paints a depressing picture for the Volt.

Would sell better as a $25K-$30K car, but I bet they lose money at that point. Add another fact that despite what one GM employee says here, there is a large section of the population that has went Japanese/European/Ford because GM burned them before with poor quality in the 70s/80s/90s.


RE: Imagine That....
By Reclaimer77 on 1/24/2012 5:28:11 PM , Rating: 3
All the Volt's "sales" numbers were artificially propped up by Government fleet sales anyway. Their biggest customer. Crony capitalism anyone?

The number of actual consumers buying the Volt are like..nothing. Not commiserate at all with it's hype and marketing.


RE: Imagine That....
By Masospaghetti on 1/25/2012 9:17:04 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
All the Volt's "sales" numbers were artificially propped up by Government fleet sales anyway...The number of actual consumers buying the Volt are like..nothing.

Provide some numbers for once. We all know the government purchased 100 Volts back in May - Where did the other 7900 Volts go?


RE: Imagine That....
By stimudent on 1/24/2012 12:19:05 AM , Rating: 2
When (not if) gas prices go back up to $4/gallon, they will start selling again.


RE: Imagine That....
By Reclaimer77 on 1/24/2012 1:15:48 AM , Rating: 4
Yeah because if you can't afford $4/gallon gas, the answer is going out and buying a $40k+ "economy" car.


RE: Imagine That....
By Dr of crap on 1/24/2012 10:13:46 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention, why do people go out and buy NEW cars when the gas prices increase?
The price of the NEW car will not SAVE you any money for years! Yes you'll see gas savings, but don't forget the price of the car needs to be involved as well.
Keeping your old car, even if it gets 20mpg will save you more than spending for a NEW car with 40 mpg.

Have yet to understand that one!


RE: Imagine That....
By zephyrprime on 1/24/2012 1:26:51 PM , Rating: 2
At any given time, there are people on the outside margins of purchasing decisions. Whenever any incentive to buy happens, you should logically expect more purchases to be made. The key here is to understand that many were close to buying for a myriad of reasons even before gas prices increases. When prices increase, it merely pull forward demand.


RE: Imagine That....
By djc208 on 1/24/2012 10:21:34 AM , Rating: 1
Why not, it worked for the Prius. When it first came out you couldn't recoup the price premium in fuel savings in a normal vehicle lifetime. People will see $5/gallon gas and think it will be worth the money to remove most of their dependence on gasoline, regardless of whether they would ever actually save money on the whole deal.

Besides, as much as I hate to say it (and I have the vehicles to prove it) we're going to have to get used to the idea that price is not directly proportional to size and power.


RE: Imagine That....
By djc208 on 1/24/2012 10:21:52 AM , Rating: 2
Why not, it worked for the Prius. When it first came out you couldn't recoup the price premium in fuel savings in a normal vehicle lifetime. People will see $5/gallon gas and think it will be worth the money to remove most of their dependence on gasoline, regardless of whether they would ever actually save money on the whole deal.

Besides, as much as I hate to say it (and I have the vehicles to prove it) we're going to have to get used to the idea that price is not directly proportional to size and power.


RE: Imagine That....
By djc208 on 1/24/2012 10:41:00 AM , Rating: 2
Why not, it worked for the Prius. When it first came out you couldn't recoup the price premium in fuel savings in a normal vehicle lifetime. People will see $5/gallon gas and think it will be worth the money to remove most of their dependence on gasoline, regardless of whether they would ever actually save money on the whole deal.

Besides, as much as I hate to say it (and I have the vehicles to prove it) we're going to have to get used to the idea that price is not directly proportional to size and power.


RE: Imagine That....
By djc208 on 1/24/2012 10:41:05 AM , Rating: 2
Why not, it worked for the Prius. When it first came out you couldn't recoup the price premium in fuel savings in a normal vehicle lifetime. People will see $5/gallon gas and think it will be worth the money to remove most of their dependence on gasoline, regardless of whether they would ever actually save money on the whole deal.

Besides, as much as I hate to say it (and I have the vehicles to prove it) we're going to have to get used to the idea that price is not directly proportional to size and power.


RE: Imagine That....
By djc208 on 1/24/2012 10:41:25 AM , Rating: 2
Why not, it worked for the Prius. When it first came out you couldn't recoup the price premium in fuel savings in a normal vehicle lifetime. People will see $5/gallon gas and think it will be worth the money to remove most of their dependence on gasoline, regardless of whether they would ever actually save money on the whole deal.

Besides, as much as I hate to say it (and I have the vehicles to prove it) we're going to have to get used to the idea that price is not directly proportional to size and power.


RE: Imagine That....
By djc208 on 1/24/2012 10:41:29 AM , Rating: 2
Why not, it worked for the Prius. When it first came out you couldn't recoup the price premium in fuel savings in a normal vehicle lifetime. People will see $5/gallon gas and think it will be worth the money to remove most of their dependence on gasoline, regardless of whether they would ever actually save money on the whole deal.

Besides, as much as I hate to say it (and I have the vehicles to prove it) we're going to have to get used to the idea that price is not directly proportional to size and power.


RE: Imagine That....
By Masospaghetti on 1/24/2012 1:20:31 PM , Rating: 2
The buying public is highly irrational when it comes to gasoline prices.

When gas first went up to $3/gal, people were dumping Accords to buy Civics at $10,000 losses to gain an extra few mpg, and Priuses were backlogged for months. And recently, when gas went below $3/gal just briefly, SUV sales increased significantly.


RE: Imagine That....
By Dr of crap on 1/24/2012 1:32:08 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I agree.
As to my post above that this doesn't make any financial sense!


RE: Imagine That....
By Gungel on 1/24/2012 10:12:48 AM , Rating: 2
My Odyssey transmission didn't even make it past 30,000 miles.


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