Thursday, February 2, 2012

GM CEO face Congress on Chevy Volt

GM CEO face Congress on Chevy Volt
Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

A Chevy Volt rolls out of the line of the General Motors Detroit Hamtramck Assembly factory in Hamtramck, Michigan

By Paul A. Eisenstein, the Detroit Bureau

The Chevrolet Volt has a good testimony last Friday, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closed their investigation into possible problems with the plug in hybrid battery pack - but that doesn't mean that the engine problems with the Volt, General as a congressional hearing to begin on Wednesday.

The Volt controversy came a fire, which at last spring, weeks after one of the cars, battery through a federal crash test went.  A second volt battery pack caught fire after being tested in November.  Triggered an investigation by the NHTSA - as hearings by the House Committee on oversight and government reform and California Republican Committee of Chairman Darryl Issa claiming that government agency initially tried to cover up the original fire.

In the meantime, GM, pointing out that it will them no real reports of battery-related fires, announced yet on the January 5 is a series of small but important changes to reduce the chance of problems with the battery pack.

"Based on the available data, NHTSA doesn't believe that Volt or other electric vehicles are a greater risk of fire as a gasoline-powered vehicles, Chevy", a statement said that also noted that fire is danger with all vehicles NHTSA.  In fact, there are thousands of such incidents involving natural gas vehicles per year.

A spokesman for GM responded that the NHTSA move "consistent" with the manufacturer's internal tests, and added that the changes that are made with the new Volt - free changes offered "additional Protection…minimizing the post crash fire hazard will offer to current owner - in the days and weeks after a serious crash and rollover."

What was frustrated critics, including Cong. Issa, the fact that the NHTSA initially delayed reporting the first fire for five months.  It was known in a report from the Reuters news service on 12 November.  The problem has politicized critics - mostly on the Republican side of the aisle - be open in the current climate of Washington wondering if the Obama wanted to administration, NHTSA reported that, to avoid the bad publicity, which may be a problem with volts.

The Government owned a majority stake in GM in its 2009 bankruptcy and continue to keep after GM's about one-quarter of the shares of the company November 2010 IPO.

The hearing on Capitol Hill, this week is called "Volt vehicle fire: NHTSA knew what and when she knew it?" one obvious refrain the question often of President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal.

NHTSA and GM argue that she used the delay to investigate the cause of the fire - which note you have a full three weeks after the original Volt side-impact crash test has occurred.  It now seems that the cause of the fire of full battery is a coolant Cup trickled out, after the battery pack was injured.  After such side-impact tests, NHTSA is a vehicle by which "Rotisserie test," the vehicle slowly hidden leaks can be found be turned commonly referred to as is.

In this case, it seems that the liquid ultimately above reached a circuit board on the battery.  Usually non conductive coolant went through a chemical change over several weeks, ultimately to a brief and fire.

Announced as part of the changes that it this month, GM planned to add new crash protection against penetration of the battery during one.  It is also the Board system prevent such a short change.

"Published in a letter to the Detroit News, January 12th Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, claimed that," "no one requested from the Executive Office of the President or in any way suggested that NHTSA delay publication of information relating to the Volt fire."

In the meantime, General Motors Chairman Dan Akerson Wednesday asked negotiation appears and is expected to continue to play down such conspiracy theories - and underlines confidence in the safety of the vehicle the manufacturer.

Issa own political leanings could come under the microscope.  The California conservative an outspoken critic who today GM bailout and media colleague John peoples found that Issa used Facbook recently an article New York post by Patrick j. Michaels, libertarian Cato Institute to promote, with the title "GM flop in green," explains the Volt "lemon on the one hand, on the one hand taxpayer albatross."  There is also a large number of complaints that the call the White House on the GM product line has been shot.

Ironically, managing to kill the Volt - actually wanted to lose the money along with four North American brands would, after the bankruptcy of GM canceled were adopted.

The hearings are expected to lead to no significant changes in the policy, but the GOP is clearly see the event as a way to concerns about "Government motors" and the controversial GM bailout to revive again.  The White House and the manufacturers themselves should against by noting how GM is regaining market share and profitability and also hoping to highlight the message that Volt will be safe.

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