GM CEO Defends Chevrolet Volt in Written Testimony, Hearing Before Congress
January 25, 2012 11:08 AM
comment(s) - last by
GM CEO Dan Akerson with the Chevrolet Volt
In addition to Akerson, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland testified in favor of the Volt
The Chevrolet Volt's reputation took a bit of a beating throughout 2011 after a few battery fire incidents. In May 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a side-impact crash test on the Volt, and three weeks later, the EV caught fire while parked in a testing garage.
The fire prompted a
NHTSA 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 2011, the NHTSA conducted three additional side-impact crash tests with three more Volts, and two out of three batteries either sparked or caught fire.
GM immediately jumped on the problem, offering customers loaner vehicles and even buying Volts back from scared owners. In January 2012,
GM recalled all 8,000 Volts
off the road as well as the 4,400 for sale in showrooms in order to place steel on the plate that protects the EV's battery. The NHTSA tested the new steel piece, and said it took care of the problem.
Despite finding a good fix,
GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson was still called to testify
before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in Washington in regards to the Volt fires. Today, Akerson's five-page written testimony was released, where he defended the EV's safety to the Obama administration.
"The Volt is safe. It's a marvelous machine. It represents so much of what is right at GM and, frankly, American ingenuity and manufacturing," said Akerson's testimony. "The Volt seems, perhaps unfairly, to have become a surrogate for some to offer broader commentary on General Motors' business prospects and administration policy."
In the actual hearing before the committee, Akerson said the Volt became "a political punching bag" and that the handling of the fires cast "an undeserving damaging light on a promising new technology."
The committee's Republican staff isn't so sure that the Volt is completely safe, however. In a report, it accused the Obama administration of favoring the Volt in this situation, saying the EV was given "special treatment" because GM is 26 percent government-owned as part of a $49.5 billion bailout. The Republican committee staff is investigating why the Obama administration didn't immediately disclose the initial fire that occurred back in May.
"The Obama administration has tied the political reputation of the president closely to the success of GM generally, and to the Chevy Volt specifically," the committee's report said. "Not only has the administration offered substantial taxpayer funded subsidy to encourage the Volt's production; it has also extended a significant subsidy to encourage consumers to purchase the vehicle; and the president has even offered the vehicle his personal endorsement."
Akerson said in the hearing before Congress that GM never asked the Obama administration to keep the initial fire hush-hush. He also added that the fire which occurred last May would not be a threat to owners in the real world.
In addition to Akerson, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland testified as well and denied that GM asked the NHTSA to sweep the initial fire incident under the rug temporarily in order to avoid criticism.
"We pulled no punches," said Strickland.
The Detroit News
The Detroit News
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
1/25/2012 2:43:06 PM
This just eases the sting of the taxpayer rescuing GM's UAW pensions and lavish healthcare benefits.
"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
GM CEO Called to Testify Before House Panel on Volt Fires
January 19, 2012, 9:50 PM
After Fire Issues, GM Prepares for Volt "Recall"
January 5, 2012, 11:26 PM
Chevrolet Volt Fire Leads to NHTSA Investigation of Lithium Batteries
November 12, 2011, 1:36 AM
Michigan Governor Signs “Anti Tesla” Bill That Bans Direct Sales, GM Applauds Decision
October 22, 2014, 8:56 AM
Report: 2015 Ford Focus Electric MSRP Slashed by $6,000, Will Retail for $29,995
October 18, 2014, 6:23 PM
Chevrolet Sonic EV to Have 200-mile Range, Debut in 2017
October 10, 2014, 12:01 PM
Auto Start-Stop Systems Will be Installed on Nearly 60% of New Vehicles by 2020
October 8, 2014, 4:19 PM
Volvo XC90 to Receive Triple-turbocharged, 450hp 2.0-liter Four-cylinder Engine
October 7, 2014, 2:29 PM
Nissan Still Trying to Make a Profit on Leaf EV
October 6, 2014, 5:46 PM
Most Popular Articles
Cool Science Video of the Day: Carnivorous Leech Eats Giant Jungle Worm
October 16, 2014, 6:44 PM
Chinese Government Declares Digital War Against America's Top Tech Firms
October 20, 2014, 12:07 PM
PS4 "Masamune" Update 2.0 Will Bring New Music and Customization Features
October 17, 2014, 1:05 PM
HBO, CBS Lead Charge to Ditch Cable
October 16, 2014, 4:40 PM
Update: Motorola Droid Turbo Coming Oct 28, 48-hour Battery Life Confirmed
October 19, 2014, 9:19 PM
Latest Blog Posts
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information