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Chevrolet Voltís battery fire case gets politicized

By SYF77 on 01 Feb 2012

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The Chevrolet Volt has become a political punching bag as the Republicans accused the Obama administration of hiding fire risks from the public. In response, General Motors (GM) says that the administration has no seat on the board and no influence over business decisions. The automaker added that its signature electric vehicle got unfairly caught in political crosswinds.

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Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Oversight regulatory subcommittee, said it was disturbing that U.S. safety regulators waited six months to open a formal investigation after their own crash tests uncovered fire risks. He speculated that the administration may have been preserving its own interests as President Barack Obama has heavily promoted electric vehicles like the Volt, and his administration oversaw a U.S. government bailout and bankruptcy restructuring of GM in 2009.

GM Chief Executive, Dan Akerson, told the hearing that the Volt got "disproportionate scrutiny" because it became a surrogate for election-year politics and commentary on GM's business and Obama administration policy.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation on 25 November 11 into the safety of the Volt's battery pack after its own repeated tests uncovered fire risks. The fires occurred after NHTSA crash tests or other tests where the car's lithium-ion batteries were purposely damaged, and GM has stressed that no "real world" incidents have been reported.

General Motors has sold more than 8,000 Volts, including 1,500 in December 2011, its best month so far. Another 6,500 units have been manufactured. All will undergo retrofits to provide better protection for the battery in event of a crash. GM will also take steps to reduce chances of coolant leaks, which can trigger fires.

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Written by SYF77
I have been a car fanatic since 1989, when my father was changing our family car then to a Toyota Corolla 1.6 GL fitted with a Twin Cam 16 valve engine that was carburetor-fed, a big deal back in those days. The automobile technology and industry fascinates me and I hope to broadcast these interesting developments to everyone out there through this blog.

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