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GM’s Akerson Testifies Before U.S. House Subcommittee Regarding the Volt's Safety

January 26, 2012

GM's CEO Dan Akerson gets into a Volt at the U.S. House of Representatives subcomittee hearing regarding the vehicle's safety.
GM's CEO Dan Akerson gets into a Volt at the U.S. House of Representatives subcomittee hearing regarding the vehicle's safety.

WASHINGTON – General Motors' Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson testified on Jan. 25, 2012, before a U.S. House subcommittee, defending the Chevrolet Volt's overall safety record. He also detailed the steps GM took to inform vehicle owners and engineer a solution to better protect the vehicle's battery.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending questioned Akerson about the Volt's safety and whether NHTSA delayed releasing information about a potential post-crash battery fire in the vehicle. NHTSA formally declared the investigation closed in late January.

The initial report issued by the House subcommittee opened with the following statement:

“The delayed public notification of serious safety concerns relating to the Chevy Volt raises significant concerns regarding the unnatural relationship between General Motors (GM), Chrysler and the Obama Administration.”

Akerson had the following to say regarding the Volt while testifying:

“We engineered Volt to give drivers a choice— to use energy produced in the United States rather than oil from places that may not always put America’s best interests first,” Akerson said. “And, we engineered Volt to show the world what great vehicles we make at General Motors.

“Unfortunately, there is one thing we did not engineer.  Although we loaded the Volt with state-of-the-art safety features - we did not engineer the Volt to be a political punching bag. And that, sadly, is what it’s become.

“For all of the loose talk about fires, we are here today because tests by regulators resulted in battery fires under lab conditions that no driver would experience in the real world. In fact, Volt customers have driven over 25 million miles without a single, similar incident. In one test, the fire occurred seven days after a simulated crash. In another, it took three weeks after the test. Not three minutes. Not three hours. Not three days. Three weeks. Based on those test results, did we think there was an imminent safety risk? No.”

Akerson went on to say that GM rapidly engineered a solution, contacted every Volt owner and offered each a loaner car until the issue was settled, and even offered to buy back the vehicles.

The following video from WXYZ TV Detroit (originally posted on YouTube) features footage from the hearing and a brief overview.

By Greg Basich

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Please note that comments may be moderated. 
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  1. 1. Engineer [ February 24, 2012 @ 09:00PM ]

    The reasons why smart people do not buy Electric or Hybrid cars are: Batteries are expensive, short lived, efficiency isn’t 100 % and the electricity is not free. Going electric you won’t decrease Air Pollution because, 50 % of the electricity is produced by burning COAL. By the way a Jetta Diesel, TDI for $23000 makes 40MPG. With a full tank of Chevy Volt, driving non-stop, you make 37MPG, plus $3 or more, the price of electricity you charged 16.0-kW-hr lithium-ion, the hefty $10000 of the 750-pound battery pack.

    Using Chevy Volt, in the Electric Mode Only, Charging and Discharging the battery pack every day, is going to cost you $1000 in electricity, plus $3000 in the battery amortization, with a TOTAL of $4000 per year.


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