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Congressional Trial by Fire For Volt

NHTSA chief hammered for delayed report.

by on Jan.25, 2012

GM CEO Dan Akerson gets into a Chevrolet Volt on his way to today's hearings on Capitol Hill.

General Motors CEO Dan Akerson faced a trial by fire today – quite literally – when he was grilled about a series of fires that occurred following federal crash tests of the maker’s Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.

Akerson, by his own request, was one of those testifying during a hearing by a subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee with the provocative title, “What did NHTSA know and when did it know it.”  The reference to Watergate and former Pres. Richard Nixon reflected the clear contention of committee leaders that the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency deliberately delayed issuing a public report on the first Volt fire for at least three months.

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Some critics have suggested the agency was motivated by a desire to protect the Treasury’s stake in GM, which it first acquired as part of the bailout the maker received after going bankrupt in 2009.  But Akerson denied that, and in prepared comments told the Oversight panel, “The Volt is safe.  It’s a marvelous machine.”


GM May Buy Back Chevy Volts from Worried Owners

But despite fire investigation demand for plug-in hybrid rose again in November.

by on Dec.01, 2011

GM CEO Dan Akerson with the Chevy Volt at an early preview. He may have less to celebrate now.

General Motors will buy back a Chevrolet Volt from any owner worried about recent reports of fires following federal crash tests of the plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Nonetheless, demand for the Volt rose again during November, reaching 1,139 for the month and handily outselling its primary rival, the Nissan Leaf. But there appears to be no way that GM will be able to meet its original objective of selling 10,000 Volts this year.

Power Up!

GM will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of the Chevy battery car, said CEO Dan Akerson during an interview published by the Associated Press, even if that means replacing the current lithium-ion battery pack.  There have been three separate incidents involving the Volt batteries since one caught fire following a May crash test by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.