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
RE: Right on...
1/25/2012 9:59:55 PM
I haven't commented on DT for a long time but I'm breaking that because I completely agree with you. All things considered, it is indeed an engineering feat to be proud of.
"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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
Nissan Introduces EZ-Charge Cards for New LEAF Owners, Offers Free Charging
April 17, 2014, 2:23 PM
Quick Note: Toyota Attempts to Erase “Boring” Image with ’15 Camry SE Hybrid
April 16, 2014, 11:36 AM
Mazda Bringing SKYACTIV Tech to Miata, Trims 220 Pounds from Chassis
April 16, 2014, 11:20 AM
Direct Auto Sales Bill Fizzles Out in Arizona Senate; Tesla Motors Will Try Again
April 15, 2014, 7:00 PM
BMW Concept X5 eDrive Uses Plug-In Hybrid Tech
April 14, 2014, 9:03 AM
GM Invests $449 Million USD in Future Electric Vehicles, Batteries
April 9, 2014, 2:27 PM
Most Popular Articles
Cities to Carpoolers: Sharing Your Car is Illegal, We Will Seize Your Cars
April 4, 2014, 9:17 PM
Taiwan's AOU Claims to Have World's Highest-Res. OLED Smartphone Display
April 11, 2014, 1:44 PM
iPad Exploiter is Freed by Federal Appeals Court
April 11, 2014, 7:40 PM
It's Very Likely Neanderthals and Humans Had Sex, Produced Offspring
April 10, 2014, 8:40 PM
A-10 Warthog May Live to Fight Another Day with Support from Lawmakers
April 14, 2014, 9:41 AM
Latest Blog Posts
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
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information