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Troubling NHTSA/GM Response to Chevy Volt Fires
National Legal & Policy Center ^ | December 1, 2011 | Mark Modica

Posted on 12/01/2011 10:42:03 AM PST by jazusamo

Some troubling inconsistencies are arising regarding General Motors and NHTSA's response to the crash-tested Chevy Volt fires first reported a few weeks ago. NHTSA and GM delayed informing the public of the initial Volt incident that occurred about six months ago until recently. According to an early NY Times piece on the exploding Volt, NHTSA and GM claimed that they were unable to replicate the fire that occurred at the time. In fact, according to a CNN Money piece that ran when the story first broke, GM spokesman Greg Martin stated that the Volt battery pack was subjected to more than 300,000 safety tests.

About two weeks after these statements, NHTSA announced that in three more recent tests on the Volts, two caught fire or emitted sparks and smoke . It is unbelievable that NHTSA and GM ran multiple tests after the first fire without incident only to now have two out of three Volts replicate the original problem. A group called Safety Research and Strategies, Inc (SRS) is not buying it either and reported on the new Volt debacle.

There are many issues with the response by both NHTSA and GM to the original Volt fire. From the SRS report, no documentation exists for original Volt tests. They also report that "the lead investigator in this sensitive investigation is a mechanical engineer fresh out of college with no apparent electrical engineering background or experience. She joined the agency one month before the Volt ignited." It seems that NHTSA and GM would prefer to have a green engineer (in more ways than one) in charge of the Volt investigation.

SRS also rightly points out that it is inappropriate for NHTSA to give a "sales pitch" for the Volt as it did when it stated, "NHTSA continues to believe that electric vehicles have incredible potential to save consumers money at the pump, help protect the environment, create jobs and strengthen national security by reducing our dependence on oil," If having an agency of the Executive Branch of government investigating President Obama's favorite car isn't cause enough for concern, the biased statements predetermining the value in the Chevy Volt should confirm that there is no way that NHTSA can properly investigate the safety issues. Just look at the NHTSA statement as quoted by CNN Money, "Let us be clear: NHTSA does not believe electric vehicles are at a greater risk of fire than other vehicles." How can an agency that has predetermined that there is no greater risks to electric vehicles impartially carry out the important investigations?

The initial response from GM on the NHTSA Volt fire placed blame on the agency itself for the original fire. GM claimed that NHTSA did not follow safety protocol. The fact that, at the time, no safety protocol existed for the vehicle gives insight into how Government Motors spins facts to the point where it becomes outright deception. And NHTSA's lack of transparency along with conflicts of interests and predeterminations of EV safety gives evidence that they are not capable of giving a fair assessment of the Volt incidents.

Members of Congress, along with consumer safety advocacy groups and journalists, should keep a close eye on the Chevy Volt investigation. SRS's concerns should be addressed. Questions need to be answered regarding NHTSA and GM's delay in reporting the first Volt fire that could have put the public at risk and statements that subsequent tests done could not replicate the problem. SRS is also right that transparency is needed and documentation should be produced. The Chevy Volt and Government Motors should stop getting a free pass from congressional leaders and the mainstream media and more oversight and scrutiny should be given to NHTSA which is failing in its role as transportation safety advocate for the American public.

Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government
KEYWORDS: bailout; batteryfires; chevyvolt; crashtests; gm; governmentmotors; nhtsa; nlpc; obama; thegreenlie
GM has been saying they'd meet their goal of 10,000 in the sales of the Volt for in this year.

In Business Week it was just announced they sold 1139 Volts in November for a total so far this year of 6142. They better step up their December sales if they're going to make it.

Volt sales

1 posted on 12/01/2011 10:42:11 AM PST by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

But let Toyota stub their baby toe and NHTSA is all over them.


2 posted on 12/01/2011 10:46:48 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Holding our flawed politicians to higher standards than the enemy’s politicians guarantees they win)
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To: jazusamo
Troubling NHTSA/GM Response to Chevy Volt Fires

"Fires? WHAT fires?"

3 posted on 12/01/2011 10:47:38 AM PST by WayneS (Comments now include 25 percent more sarcasm for no additional charge...)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Exactly. They gave Toyota fits for months, hurt their sales badly and then said nothing was wrong.


4 posted on 12/01/2011 10:51:58 AM PST by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo
Oil leak in the ocean: Stop all off-shore drilling ASAP.
Nuke plant emergency/urf quake/tsunami: Stop all nuke development.
Stuck accelerator on Prius: Have NASA fix it.
Government Motors Volt/Dolt fires: ....crickets....
5 posted on 12/01/2011 10:53:59 AM PST by SERKIT ("Blazing Saddles" explains it all......)
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To: WayneS

I wonder if GM engineers are banned from listing “fire” as a potential failure effect on FMEAs. Thermal incident sounds so much nicer.


6 posted on 12/01/2011 10:55:58 AM PST by Jack of all Trades (Hold your face to the light, even though for the moment you do not see.)
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To: jazusamo

hard to sleep at night with one of these potential bombs in the garage


7 posted on 12/01/2011 10:56:27 AM PST by CGASMIA68
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To: jazusamo

They’re NOT “fires”. GM calls them “thermal incidents”.


8 posted on 12/01/2011 11:00:22 AM PST by WOBBLY BOB (Congress: Looting the future to bribe the present.)
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To: Red Badger

Ping.


9 posted on 12/01/2011 11:03:12 AM PST by Army Air Corps (Four fried chickens and a coke)
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To: Jack of all Trades; WayneS; WOBBLY BOB

Yep, and that thermal incident last June not only burned up the Volt but three other vehicles. :-)


10 posted on 12/01/2011 11:05:12 AM PST by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

There are 42 used ones on cars.com and many more on other sites.

How many of them where bought by dealers and used for the rebates?

How many where sold to non government agencies?


11 posted on 12/01/2011 11:08:43 AM PST by cableguymn
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To: jazusamo

The new VOLT song on their ads - LIGHT MY FIRE


12 posted on 12/01/2011 11:11:20 AM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: jazusamo
Cadillac is proud to announce production of the new standard in extended-range electric vihicles.

The Cadillac ELR Coupe is built on the Voltec platform that also powers the Volt.

13 posted on 12/01/2011 11:15:50 AM PST by Daaave ("The ship will self-destruct in t-minus, ten minutes.")
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To: cableguymn

Good questions. Modica, the author of this article exposed the scam of dealers buying from Volt dealers and taking the tax credit.

GM said they have no control over it and it’s technically legal if the person buying from the second dealer doesn’t take the tax credit again.

Of course there was no space on the tax credit form for a vin number. Don’t know if that has changed.


14 posted on 12/01/2011 11:18:07 AM PST by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: All

http://youtu.be/_h5AOWL0fRE

at least this one did not burst in to flames when it failed.


15 posted on 12/01/2011 11:23:46 AM PST by cableguymn
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To: Daaave

Two months ago or so some GM official said he’d guess that Cad/Volt base price at about $57,000, I’d bet money that’s way too low.


16 posted on 12/01/2011 11:24:01 AM PST by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: blueunicorn6
The new VOLT song on their ads - LIGHT MY FIRE

It's a shame, you know... Chevy missed the perfect opportunity to resurrect the Nova model name.

17 posted on 12/01/2011 11:56:30 AM PST by Charles Martel (Endeavor to persevere...)
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To: Charles Martel

PBS probably threatened to sue.


18 posted on 12/01/2011 1:31:58 PM PST by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: jazusamo

Jaz, I checked draft for 2011 form. Field for VIN is there, hopefully as a result of my suggestion. I spoke to an auto journalist back when the story broke who claimed IRS knew of the issues. Journalist did not want the info publicized.


19 posted on 12/01/2011 1:52:31 PM PST by Mark Modica
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To: Mark Modica

Thanks for that info. Looks like IRS took care of their goof but didn’t really want their goof to be known by everyone. Can’t say as I blame them. :-)

That was good work exposing that scam and probably saved taxpayers a fair amount of money in possible double tax credits on a single Volt.


20 posted on 12/01/2011 2:05:53 PM PST by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

three members of the House asked the head of the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration why reports of fires in batteries that power the Chevy Volt appear to have been delayed by “several months

http://hotair.com/archives/2011/12/09/did-the-obama-administration-delay-report-on-volt-fires/comment-page-1/


21 posted on 12/09/2011 12:45:31 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: george76

Good article, thanks for linking.

It’s good to see other sites and some media besides the NLPC starting to write the truth about EV’s and especially the Volt after the misleading hype in press releases GM has put out about it.

1139 Chevy Volts were sold in November, the highest sales of any month. It’ll be interesting to see how many sell in December, I’d bet less because of the truth finally starting to get out.


22 posted on 12/09/2011 1:05:12 PM PST by jazusamo (The real minimum wage is zero: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

I wonder how many average miles they are driven each year ?

Likely parked out front of liberal townhomes , to be seen by other PC liberals, only to be used a few times in the summer . How does the heater, defroster...work in the winter ?

Meanwhile, the Cadillac Escalape parked in the garage likely goes out every day.


23 posted on 12/09/2011 1:50:55 PM PST by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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