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GM now working on making Volt image better

GM is hard at work on fixing the tarnished image of the Volt after the fire investigation. The Volt drama started when a crash tested vehicle caught fire three weeks after being tested while sitting in the parking lot of a government test facility. The fire was large enough to damage vehicles nearby.
 
GM's CEO was called to testify before a House panel as part of the investigation into the fire and the methods in which the fire was disclosed. The day after the testimony was given; GM has acknowledged that the fire investigation had an impact on sales. GM started airing a new commercial on TV stations around the country that focuses on the Volt in an effort to improve the car's image.
 
The new commercial is called "Morning in Hamtramck." Hamtramck is the city where the Volt is constructed and is a suburb of Detroit. The commercial sees the Volts rolling down an assembly line on the main street of Hamtramck. The commercial touts the Volt as "the car that America had to build" and the commercial says that GM built the car for "for our town, for our country, for our future."
 

The commercial is perhaps the most visible part of the efforts to buff the tarnish off the Volt image. GM North American VP Mark Reuss sent a letter to Volt owners around the country this week that thanked the owners for their support. Despite GM offering to buy back Volts from worried owners no one asked for their car to be bought back. GM also offered loaner vehicles until the investigation was complete.
 
Detroit News reports that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was at the Washington Autoshow and noted that he is satisfied that the Volt is safe. LaHood also denied GM was given any preferential treatment in the investigation. There were some allegations that the delay in telling the public about the fire in testing, which spanned months, was preferential to GM. LaHood also said that it would have been inappropriate to disclose details on the fire until the investigation was complete.

Source: Detroit News



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So stupid
By Stuka on 1/27/2012 11:05:41 AM , Rating: 3
Seems obvious to me... with ANY electic capable vehicle, the battery pack should be required to be be removed immediately following an accident that it can't drive away from. I'm looking at insurance companies here. When they get a claim filed for one, you get it towed to an approved shop/wrecker who removes the pack and stores it seperately. Should probably even disharge it under controlled conditions. It's in the insurance companies' interest to halt this as much as anyone else.

Do they leave gas in the ruptured tanks of petrol cars after they're totalled in these tests? I reckon not, because there's at least an enviro regulation against it.




RE: So stupid
By RDO CA on 1/27/2012 11:50:01 AM , Rating: 2
The procedure that was not followed on the fire car after the crash test is to cut a wire to take the electronics out of the system. All first responders have been made aware of this and it is noted in a sticker on the car. In addition when OnStar sees a bad crash they send a trained gm person to the site and they have proper equipment to safely discharge the battery. This is a great car and cuts our use of foreign oil. I drove mine last year 5k miles and used 2.4 gals of gas and about $20 per month in electricity in CA where el cost is very high. I have gone over 100mph on battery only and it performs quite well. It does not turn on the gas engine at all like the Prius until the battery is down to the lower buffer limit. You get about 40-45 miles (in Ca where I live) on a chg.
Drive one you might even like it instead of just bashing.(I know you were probably deprived as a child)


RE: So stupid
By drycrust3 on 1/27/2012 3:24:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
the battery pack should be required to be be removed immediately following an accident that it can't drive away from

One of the problems I see is car manufacturers seem to regard the battery in a regular car as an accessory, not as an essential part of the car, so they don't have things like a master switch and a main fuse between the battery and the rest of the car.
My guess is the same approach was made with the Volt, so that there were cables and wiring that had no fuse or circuit breaker protection running around the car.
One of the problems we have is we don't really know why the car caught fire, which is frustrating because the cause may have been unrelated to the crash test (although it probably was caused by the crash test).
That said, I think your idea that the battery be removed is probably the easiest and safest approach.
As I understand these batteries, you can't actually discharge them completely without damaging them, so leaving the battery in the car and discharging it doesn't necessarily mean the battery is dead, which is why removing it sounds the better option.
Of course, all this adds to the cost of towing and storing the car.


Not the investigation but how it was handled
By usbseawolf2000 on 1/27/2012 11:38:46 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think the fire investigation hurt the Volt but rather how it was handled.

If not for the leak, I am not sure if NHTSA would have open the investigation (after 6 months) and just cover it up. Why did it take 6 months to open the investigation and only 2 weeks for Secretary Lahood to conclude that Volt is safe?

The fire broke out in June. President Obama was sitting in a Volt on his Detroit factory visit in July. Did NHTSA tell the president or the secret service of the fire? The whole thing doesn't sit well.

As for the ad, American need to build a compact car that weights more than a SUV? We need a light, clean, efficient and affordable car like Prius c. I am for electric and hybrid cars but Volt compromises on both fronts. It was engineered to meet political definition of electric car with maximum battery tax credit (16kWh). Yet, it has a gas engine that provides substandard hybrid MPG.




By Etsp on 1/27/2012 12:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
Why would the President need to know about these fires? How would that have affected his safety when he was sitting in a new one? These fires only happen several days AFTER the car was TOTALED.

The safety issue isn't in regards to the owners of the cars, it's with the personnel who handle and store cars that were totaled. This whole ordeal about fires is a non-issue that's been blown out of proportion.


More sour grapes
By wookie1 on 1/27/2012 12:58:49 PM , Rating: 3
GM benefitted from the bogus Prius accelerator pedal problem that the US Gov't hepled perpetuate, no room now to complain about similar bad publicity hurting sales.




Heh...
By mmatis on 1/27/2012 10:16:30 AM , Rating: 2
It's clearly all Bush's fault!




Oil = Achilles Heel
By JonnyDough on 1/28/2012 1:36:22 AM , Rating: 2
Oil is our lifeblood. Without it, America loses its power. America is perhaps not as pure as an angel, but it is certainly better than many nations around the world. Our leaders may be dirty crooks, but they also stop murders from happening around the world. Its hard to say, but I do know that I would rather live in a free society where I have opportunity than to live in one where I can be put to death when my neighbor lies and says I spoke ill of my government.
North Korea needs a regime change.

I guess my point is that my fellow Americans want to blame the American government for everything, even when our government takes action that is in support of our own interests. GM needed to survive, I have no doubt in my mind. Michigan would be in a very sad way right now if it hadn't. The closing of plants would have spread like cancer to our surrounding states.

We need to wean ourselves off foreign oil and the government knows it. They have known for quite awhile, because diplomatic relations with the middle east was poor. Who knows how it got this way? Errors of past presidents, and interests of other large nations having an effect on these small powerful oil countries. I think there are larger nations that have tried to make some of these small oil producing nations our enemies. These wealthy royal families are getting too wealthy and too powerful. They already own a lot of our American companies via stock ownership.




Volt sales
By rich876 on 1/28/2012 8:55:54 AM , Rating: 2
I use to be a Republican, but seeing what's going on in DC, I will vote Republican this time. The Republicans don't like electric cars and will do their best to discourage anyone from buying one. They are in the pockets of big oil! Just watch Fox News.




Good Scapegoat
By lightfoot on 1/27/2012 12:44:49 PM , Rating: 1
The way I see it is that GM was lucky to have the fire recall issue. If it weren't for that they would have to admit the real reason that the Volt isn't selling well.




I feel warm and cuddly
By Reclaimer77 on 1/27/12, Rating: -1
RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By kattanna on 1/27/2012 10:33:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"the car that America had to build"


LOL i like how the commercial says they didnt want to build it.. we had to build it.

yeah.. that will motivate buyers..


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By Amedean on 1/27/2012 10:52:29 AM , Rating: 2
Ahhh, no Jason Mick spin, good article!

I completely agree that the Volt suffers from bad PR. Unfortunately, it's not just the battery which is really minimal, there is a campaign by oil companies to spread false rumors and bad PR paid into Fox News, among other conservative media (Jason included) outlets.

The Volt has become less an engineering marvel and more a political stint to portray its failure as a presidential fail. I hate to see politics as a prime suspect in the bad PR, but in the failed civility of our congress and their representative people, nothing is safe from this bigotry.

The Volt is an amazing platform to transfer our transportation infrastructure into a viable alternative for more reliable transportation. It is in the interest of our nation to invest in these technologies to make our economy more resilient.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By jonmcc33 on 1/27/12, Rating: -1
RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By gladiatorua on 1/27/2012 11:34:00 AM , Rating: 3
Volt has different engine that does not benefit from usual alternator that "every car" has. Sure, you can install it there but it would be either a waste or very impractical.
Alternator is an electrical motor in reverse. It converts mechanical energy electrical energy. Volt has one. It kicks in when battery runs out. The difference is that it doesn't charge the battery but powers the engine directly.
You can't make perpetual power engine using an alternator.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By Natch on 1/27/2012 2:20:43 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe if we mount a sail to it, it would help make up the difference?? ;)


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By Solandri on 1/27/2012 4:48:04 PM , Rating: 2
Mount a windmill on top of the car to generate electricity to propel the car.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By TSS on 1/28/2012 9:50:08 AM , Rating: 2
you'll find that the extra drag caused by the fan causes you to lose more energy then it will generate, unless it's efficiency is more then 100% which is impossible.

It simply can't be done. And i've gone as far as sticking 5 fans ontop of a car, dynamo's on the inside of the wheels, a 5th and 6th wheel-dynamo's on the road surface, downward drag spoilters which converts into mechanical energy (the energy would be absorbed in the supports in some way), miniature engines driven by heat on the brakepads, as well as waste-heat from the engine being converted to energy.

And each addition made just loweres overall efficiency, because you're adding components less then 100% efficient.

The first chance we will have is when we've mastered the quantum dot effect and are getting 100%+ efficiency out of solar panels. But strickly speaking, that still wouldn't be perpetual motion. As the energy source would be the sun, and the sun isn't perpetual. Perpetual motion/energy refers to generating more energy then you lose with the same apperatus.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By V-Money on 1/27/2012 1:41:46 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Every car has an alternator in it. I don't know how they couldn't design a car that uses multiple alternators to charge the battery array while in use so that a car has perpetual power.


You do realize that alternators are at best 50-60% efficient, so that comment makes no sense on any level. I agree they could have modified the engine to produce enough power to charge the battery, but that also kind of defeats the purpose of this car. It costs roughly 6 times less to charge the batteries at home than to use gas to charge them, and that's why its designed the way it is. I would make a perfect example, I don't have a volt, but I live within 20 miles of anywhere I normally drive too. Because of this if I were to buy one I could drive completely on battery power, and if I were to drive farther than the range, I would be getting better gas mileage than I would if it charged the battery.

http://jalopnik.com/5054642/chevy-volt-engine-wont...


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By jonmcc33 on 1/27/2012 5:35:36 PM , Rating: 2
Then use multiple alternators or make a generator attached to the engine. Heck, there are 4 wheels on a car. Use those wheels to move a generator to recharge the battery.

Bottom line, there are people with a LOT more knowledge than I regarding this and yet they just can't create it? The only thing they can do is make a car that just discharges? Really?


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By V-Money on 1/27/2012 8:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...or make a generator attached to the engine...

I think you are missing the whole concept, THERE IS A GENERATOR ATTACHED TO THE ENGINE ...how do you think the engine powers the electric motors. The reason it doesn't charge the batteries is because they specifically designed it not to. This was done for efficiency reasons.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By Mint on 1/28/2012 8:39:10 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, there are a lot of people who have more knowledge than you, including many people on this board. So please stop talking nonsense and listen to us:

The Volt has a very well designed drivetrain. It does recharge the battery when braking, and that's as good as it gets in this universe. Sorry to disappoint you about perpetual motion being a fairytale.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By rich876 on 1/28/2012 9:04:02 AM , Rating: 2
You can force the Volt to charge the battery if you put it in "Mountain Mode", but that's not the most efficient way.

Too many here think they are experts on how the Volt works. Some of you should apply for a job at GM and show them how it's done.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By KCjoker on 1/27/2012 6:12:27 PM , Rating: 3
I don't see how there could be bad pr about it since I hardly hear about it at all. The only time I hear abou the volt is how poor the sales are and those are facts.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By Sheffield on 1/29/2012 2:20:10 AM , Rating: 2
I bought my Volt at the end of April 2011. Since then I have driven it 13668 miles. Of that, 11131 miles have been by electric propulsion only. My lifetime gasoline miles per gallon is 163 mpg.

I bought 7.5 gallons of gasoline 11/20/2011. I have not bought gasoline since then, but have driven 3005 miles and used 6.2 gallons.

There have been no significant defects in the car. It takes off from a standing start briskly, keeps up on the freeways without any effort, and has excellent agility and road holding.

My electric bill has not gone up since I got the car, indeed it went down slightly due to a change to a time of use rate structure.

I will have to change the oil in a couple years. The only other maintenance scheduled is tire rotation.

I love this car. You should try one sometime. Then you'd be able to base your opinions of experience.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By Reclaimer77 on 1/29/2012 9:01:01 PM , Rating: 2
That would only be impressive if the Volt was around $20k. Based on your post you drive very little and have been able to avoid buying gas. Not everyone can make this claim.

What you don't seem to understand is that any economy car would be great for you, because you drive so little. Instead you're trying to claim a net savings while financing a $40k sedan.

quote:
I love this car.


You're welcome. After all, I helped you buy it.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By Jedi2155 on 1/31/2012 6:12:00 AM , Rating: 2
Enjoy your cheap gas. After all, I helped subsidized it.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By Amedean on 1/27/2012 10:53:16 AM , Rating: 1
Ahhh, no Jason Mick spin, good article!

I completely agree that the Volt suffers from bad PR. Unfortunately, it's not just the battery which is really minimal, there is a campaign by oil companies to spread false rumors and bad PR paid into Fox News, among other conservative media (Jason included) outlets.

The Volt has become less an engineering marvel and more a political stint to portray its failure as a presidential fail. I hate to see politics as a prime suspect in the bad PR, but in the failed civility of our congress and their representative people, nothing is safe from this bigotry.

The Volt is an amazing platform to transfer our transportation infrastructure into a viable alternative for more reliable transportation. It is in the interest of our nation to invest in these technologies to make our economy more resilient.


RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By Reclaimer77 on 1/27/12, Rating: 0
RE: I feel warm and cuddly
By Masospaghetti on 1/27/2012 4:05:30 PM , Rating: 1
...For the local (Chinese) market only, but including all of the facts in your post wouldn't sound nearly as good.


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