Nov 29

Working with NHTSA, GM offers loaners to Volt owners

 

In response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s opening a preliminary evaluation into the Volt’s battery pack, GM announced yesterday it would introduce a few initiatives to augment consumer confidence.

On top of the list of assurances, Mark Reuss, president, GM North America, reiterated that GM has engineered a safe vehicle.

“We stand 100% behind the quality and safety of the Chevrolet Volt – now and always,” Reuss said in a letter (see below), “I am also a Volt owner; my daughter drives it every day and she will continue to do so.”


The 2011-2012 Chevrolet Volt ranks near the top for sheer number of awards and accolades including top safety honors in the U.S. and in Europe.

But for those needing even more reassurance, the company said it will offer Volt owners a loaner car until the issue is resolved.

At the same time, GM has established a senior engineering team to work with NHTSA on possible changes, if needed, to increase safety.

As previously reported, NHTSA’s evaluation is part of a six-month-and-counting industry wide electrified vehicle evaluation. NHTSA began this after a Volt crash tested in May caught fire three weeks later.

GM’s procedures are to discharge the battery, but NHTSA is testing to see what happens when people don’t.

Its Volt-specific evaluation was announced Friday after two side-impacted stand-alone Volt batteries ignited.

GM has continued to say batteries of post-crash Volts need to be discharged. The company has said it is confident fires would not be happening if its procedures were being followed.

The automaker has installed OnStar, an onboard communications system, and sends technicians to drain the electricity from the battery.

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Following PR complications from allegedly stuck Toyota accelerators, NHTSA is taking no chances. Some are observing that disregarding GM’s protocol is part of NHTSA’s attempt to cover its bases.

Nonetheless, NHTSA said it remains “concerned” that a real-world fire could result, presumably before a team from GM reaches the vehicle to discharge its battery.

While saying it is too soon to tell, NHTSA has raised the specter of a recall if it deems a public safety risk exists.

Addressing NHTSA’s concerns, Reuss said GM is confident and going above the call of duty just to allay concerns.

“The Volt is a five-star safety car,” Reuss said. “Even though no customer has experienced in the real world what was identified in this latest testing of post-crash situations, we’re taking critical steps to ensure customer satisfaction and safety.”

Reuss said any Volt owner who has concerns for his or her safety can contact a Volt adviser to arrange for a free GM loaner until resolution is made.

“A vehicle loan program of this nature is well beyond the norm for a preliminary investigation, and it underlines our commitment to the vehicle and its owners,” he said. “These steps are the right ones to take regardless of any immediate impact on our operations.”

For his part, GM-Volt.com founder, Dr. Lyle Dennis said he is not alarmed by what many are saying are excessively amplified fears.

“I am not overly concerned about this issue,” Lyle said. “If you crash any car you could be in serious trouble. We all know gas catches fire too.”

To be sure, last year 215,500 gas and diesel vehicles were involved in fires in the U.S., and the main issue with electric vehicles appears to be fear of the unknown.

But Lyle is better informed about the Volt than most, and as owner of Volt No. 8, he says he “won’t be taking a loaner.”

As GM-Volt readers know, Lyle started this Web site to see the Volt built, and compiled a list of tens of thousands of readers who said they would buy the car.

He has followed the Volt’s development since the 2007 Volt Concept through to today, and has remained a steadfast believer in the Volt as a safe and viable “bridge” technology away from oil dependence.

So the latest news does not faze him personally, he said, but he is mindful of what can happen at the public relations level.

“I am concerned all the negative press and attention could reduce the momentum and sales of the Volt and perhaps the EV market in general,” Lyle said.

And to those who are pro-EV, and in the Volt’s camp, Lyle also noted that perceived conflicts of interest could lead to wild speculation about NHTSA’s latest singling out of the one American made car that he believes is best positioned to offer a solution today to America’s energy future.

“Conspiracy theorists could have a field day with the idea big oil is behind this,” Lyle said.

As for the actual cause of the Volt battery fires, some of the talk has included speculation about its coolant crystallizing and causing a short, but Greg Martin, Director, Policy and Washington Communications said no one is officially calling it yet.

In a phone interview yesterday, Martin said no stakeholders in the Volt battery evaluation are inclined to speculate with any certainty what they feel was the root cause until the government’s determination is officially made.

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A letter to Volt owners from Mark Reuss.

In the meantime, GM is trying to head further PR implications off at the pass.

Mary Barra, senior vice president, Global Product Development, said GM has established a senior engineering team to develop changes intended to eliminate concern of potential post-crash electrical fires.

The team is also in place to work with industry to ensure appropriate electric vehicle protocols were in place.

Barra reiterated electrical fires have not occurred on public roads and added that NHTSA was not investigating any such potential imminent failure on the roads.

“GM and the agency’s focus and research continue to be on the performance, handling, storage and disposal of batteries after a crash or other significant event,” she said. “We’re working with NHTSA so we all have an understanding about these risks and how they can be avoided in the future. This isn’t just a Volt issue. We’re already leading a joint electric vehicle activity with Society of Automotive Engineers and other automotive companies to address new issues, such as this protocol of depowering batteries after a severe crash.”

Barra said the team would continue to work closely with NHTSA, suppliers, dealers and manufacturing teams to initiate any necessary changes as soon as possible.

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Dear GM-Volt Readers: We value everyone’s feedback on our daily stories, but – please – don’t post breaking news or other stories that we could be working on as a post here. Doing this will help ensure fresh daily discussions, and will be better for everyone. If you would instead, please e-mail story ideas to jcobb@verticalscope.com Thank you!

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 70


  1. 1
    gaboothjr

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (6:13 am)

    This investigation is actually a good thing. I never expected that the Volt would be flawless right out oof the gate. It’s too complicated a vehicle. If we have an independant third party evaluating the fire issue it will go a long way to boost consumer confidence and i believe the knowledge gained from the investigation will improve the Volt.

    Reading the letter from Mark reuss it sounds like he is offering a loaner to anyone that is uncomfortable driving the Volt while the investigation is under way, not just post-crash loaners. I think it’s safe to say that no one would want to drive around in a Cruze while their Volt sits home in the garage …I sure wouldn’t.

    Love my Volt!!!


  2. 2
    CometMan

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (6:32 am)

    Important real world safety concern? No.
    Useful to understand the exact methodolgy of the fire starting? Yes
    Am I concerned? No
    Will it change my behavior? Only if I’m involved in a severe crash, I’ll tell the tow truck driver to park the Volt away from other cars and outdoors.

    Will EV-Haters and the media in general make hay out of this? You Betchya!
    Any significant source of energy (chemical, electrical, potential, pressure etc.) needs to be understood and treated with respect. If you abuse it you are likely to get hurt.
    Nice article, nice to know information, and honorable of GM to step up and offer loaner cars to those afraid.


  3. 3
    WVhybrid

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (7:24 am)

    After reading everything I can get my hands on about this issue, I’m going to get in my Volt and drive to work.

    ‘Nuff said.


  4. 4
    Loboc

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (7:24 am)

    A question I have is: Why is a government agency bringing this investigation into public record *before* the investigation is completed?

    It seems irresponsible to make any public statements while the investigation is ongoing. It brings this into the realm of a political move not a public safety one.

    The flip-side is that GM can take this opportunity of free buzz and use it to their advantage. In a few years, who will remember that there was any controversy at all. Especially when it is all put to bed.

    Meanwhile, Volt is in the news increasing awareness with the general public.


  5. 5
    nasaman

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (7:56 am)

    For anyone who missed GM’s 49-minute conference call on this subject yesterday, an excellent replay of that call is available 24/7 until Dec 2 (midnight) at: http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Nov/1128_mediaadvisory

    Telephone: 800-475-6701
    International: 320-365-3844
    Access Code: 226619

    Although only members of the press asked questions, I found it was enlightening and well worth my 49 minutes.


  6. 6
    Jim I

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (8:03 am)

    Does the NHTSA do a similar test on vehicles running CNG?

    I would imagine that a ruptured high pressure natural gas tank would pose a much more immediate risk to safety than a delayed reaction to a damaged cooling system in the battery pack. Especially if it is in a transit or school bus!!! Where is all the outrage on this issue???

    What I would like to know is: Is some special hardware required to discharge the battery pack? Or is it just a procedure that must be followed? And if the NHTSA knew that there was a discharge procedure in place, why do they just get to ignore it, and then still say this is a design problem?

    This just is not making any sense to me….

    JMHO

    C-5277

    And I will continue to drive my Volt daily!


  7. 7
    kdawg

     

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (8:09 am)

    What’s the GM loaner.. a Chevy Aveo or a Cadillac CTS-V Coupe?


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    pat

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (8:17 am)

    What surprises me the most that how some folks hate VOLT so much! Here is a car and many others in the future will help us to reduce our dependency on oil fro those arab cartel. These crooks control the price of oil thru a cartel and then trhow around their billions and in some cases aid the terrorists.

    Unbelievable from my perspective or thisis some kind of right wing propganda which is fed to followers who dont think but run with it. Dont buy it that is your right but hate those buy and drive this marvel of technology – mind boggling!

    On the VOLT fire – Looks like it needs some additional bulletins from GM to Dealers/Tow operators to discharge the battery in a crash. May some good will come out of this investigation and make VOLT even better.

    Go Volt Go GM.


  9. 9
    nasaman

     

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (8:42 am)

    Jim I:”…Is some special hardware required to discharge the battery pack?”

    GM said in the conf call yesterday (see post#6 for a link) that a device called a “load cell” is used. (We use the same term for the device used for space battery discharging.)


  10. 10
    kdawg

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (8:54 am)

    Volt Gen 2.
    Problem…solved.
    fatcar.jpg


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    kdawg

     

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (8:56 am)

    nasaman: GM said in the conf call yesterday (see post#6 for a link) that a device called a “load cell” is used. (We use the same term for the device used for space battery discharging.)

    I used load cells to weigh things.. odd.
    I have time to watch a 45 minute video, but did they say how this load cell connects to the battery? Can you go through the plug & charger, or do you have to connect to the DC lines?


  12. 12
    MichaelH

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (8:58 am)

    kdawg:
    What’s the GM loaner.. a Chevy Aveo or a Cadillac CTS-V Coupe?

    The experience with my dealer, when I needed a loaner so they could charge the battery overnight, is that you get a GM product from a local car rental agency. In my case I got a Traverse from Enterprise.

    I would expect this to be the case for the FEW Volt owners who chose to get a loaner while the investigation proceeds. As for me, “you can pry my Volt key fobs from my cold dead hands” when I’m gone. ;-)


  13. 13
    Gieso

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (9:04 am)

    It is appropriate that the NHTSA check to see what happens if someone doesn’t follow the discharge procedure, but it is not appropriate to raise the alarm like is being done.

    It sounds like the OnStar based post crash process is very robust and I am assuming that the discharge process will be low or no cost to do in the event of a serious crash.

    My questions is: When the first three (or five) years of OnStar’s free subscription has expired, will the same post crash process be followed even if the owner chooses not to renew the OnStar subscription?


  14. 14
    kdawg

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (9:51 am)

    Gieso: My questions is: When the first three (or five) years of OnStar’s free subscription has expired, will the same post crash process be followed even if the owner chooses not to renew the OnStar subscription?

    I’ve posed that same question regarding all of the Volt’s linked features. Will the MyVolt ap still work w/out Onstar? Can you still remotely start/precondition your Volt.

    To me, it seems, for a car that is as integrated as the Volt, the OnStar features should be good for the life of the product. Similiar to the Amazon Kindle. You buy the device, you get lifetime connection.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (9:55 am)

    kdawg: I used load cells to weigh things.. odd.
    I have time to watch a 45 minute video, but did they say how this load cell connects to the battery? Can you go through the plug & charger, or do you have to connect to the DC lines?

    Read my ealier post.. must need more coffee.

    I “use” load cells in weigh scales.
    I “dont” have time to watch a 45 min video.

    (but I may check it out after work)

    Is GM making the load cells available for all 3rd party responders to purchase?


  16. 16
    joe

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (10:16 am)

    Load cell used to drain a battery? I am not familiar with that. But as a retired EE from GM, I’m familiar with using the electrical device as a way to test mechanical strain. It is a transducer that is used to convert a mechanical force into an electrical signal. I can see it being used in the Volt to trigger OnStar or anything else for that matter, if the car gets into a crash which I believe is already being used with all OnStar vehicles.


  17. 17
    George S. Bower

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (11:01 am)

    I think the load cell is just a big resistor that converts the Volt’s charge to heat. but the load could be in other forms…it is just a matter of how one wants to use the electricity.

    Nasaman is this how NASA did it??? ie w/ a resistor/heat bank.

    Does anyone know where this charge dissipating device is connected?? Perhaps GM will have to make a discharge port more easily accessible for firemen.


  18. 18
    Ben Bethel

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (11:04 am)

    I immediately requested a loaner vehicle. As some of you may know, I was involved in a side-impact crash where the passenger side of my vehicle was hit by a red-light runner driving 40mph on July 19th… just weeks after getting my Volt. It took 10 weeks (and was told it would only take 10 days!) to repair my vehicle… it wasn’t repaired properly and was in the shop another week…. it still isn’t repaired, and needs to go in again, as it makes an ultra-high-frequency whining noise that makes myself and most of my friends nauseous to the point that we don’t even want to ride in the car…

    So yes, I’m taking the loaner.


  19. 19
    kdawg

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (11:17 am)

    Ben Bethel,

    It’s too bad the insurance company didn’t just total it.

    So you are taking a loaner because of the noise, not the safety concern?

    If yes, that raises a question, can your loaner vehicle be a Volt?


  20. 20
    Bonaire

     

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (11:24 am)

    Super-simple load cell that someone might use in the RC world. Just go bigger scale or use resistors.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-simple-battery-discharger-for-NiCad-or-NiMH/


  21. 21
    Noel Park

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (11:25 am)

    CometMan:
    Important real world safety concern? No.
    Useful to understand the exact methodolgy of the fire starting? Yes
    Am I concerned? No
    Will it change my behavior? Only if I’m involved in a severe crash, I’ll tell the tow truck driver to park the Volt away from other cars and outdoors.

    Will EV-Haters and the media in general make hay out of this? You Betchya!
    Any significant source of energy (chemical, electrical, potential, pressure etc.) needs to be understood and treated with respect.If you abuse it you are likely to get hurt.
    Nice article, nice to know information, and honorable of GM to step up and offer loaner cars to those afraid.

    #2

    Well that just about says it all. +1


  22. 22
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    Nov 29th, 2011 (11:34 am)

    In terms of Ben B. above. I have a what-if scenario question.

    What if your car is damaged in an accident and it is to undergo repair rather than being totalled? Like in a rear-end collision where only trunk-space was damaged. Could cells in the T-shaped pack be hurt enough to become a slightly higher danger risk? Would a new battery be installed under warranty by the battery team during the repair? The crash tests appear to say that a crashed vehicle could cause customer satisfaction problems if they felt that “crash test vehicles caught fire, maybe my repaired one will if I don’t get a fresh battery.” Not saying all accidents should lead to a totalled vehicle, but there will be some that undergo damage and I see a grey area potential here involving “shaken battery syndrome”.


  23. 23
    Dave K.

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (11:34 am)

    My Volt is safer than my cell phone. And it looks like my wife has hopped on board 100%. We were behind a new yellow Corvette this week and she said, “Too much gas, he should have got a Volt”. I drove my Volt 37 miles today in sport mode, 55 degree conditions. Used .07 gallon of gas.

    No Plug, No Sale!


  24. 24
    CorvetteGuy

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (11:37 am)

    One of my very first VOLT customers is here at the dealership now for the ‘software upgrade’ that was recently released. She stopped in to my office and says she really enjoys driving her VOLT and has not any any concerns about it. She received the letter posted above and says she is not interested in the loaner program. She agrees that the press is just ‘grabbing headlines’. :)


  25. 25
    Dan

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (11:57 am)

    George S. Bower:

    Does anyone know where this charge dissipating device is connected?? Perhaps GM will have to make a discharge port more easily accessible for firemen.

    As a firefighter, I don’t see us realistically trying to discharge the battery. Our concern is managing any immediate threat to life and to extricate the vehicle occupants.

    In a vehicle where we have to do an extrication, we normally disconnect the battery, but the primary purpose of that is to de-energize any restraint systems (airbags, seat belt pretensioners) that could be activated during the extrication process and cause injury to either the occupants or the rescuers.

    If the battery pack doesn’t pose an immediate threat, we’re not going to mess with it.

    I also anticipate that the de-energize process likely takes a while to occur since there is a lot of energy that needs to be safely disappated. Finally, depending on the damage to the battery, I expect that the de-energizing process may require some direct connections to circuits that are not normally exposed.


  26. 26
    Kent

     

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (12:01 pm)

    CorvetteGuy,

    CorvetteGuy,

    I’ve had my 2012 Volt for just over three months now. I haven’t received any correspondence from GM or a Volt Advisor on any software upgrades. Also, I have not received the above letter either. Is there any reason why I am not getting any info from GM? What does the software upgrade provide?


  27. 27
    George S. Bower

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (12:08 pm)

    Dan,

    Thx for the response. It makes sense.


  28. 28
    Read what your write

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (12:12 pm)

    (click to show comment)


  29. 29
    volt11

     

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (12:13 pm)

    CorvetteGuy: One of my very first VOLT customers is here at the dealership now for the ‘software upgrade’ that was recently released. She stopped in to my office and says she really enjoys driving her VOLT and has not any any concerns about it. She received the letter posted above and says she is not interested in the loaner program. She agrees that the press is just ‘grabbing headlines’.

    Interesting, I’d like to know how she received the letter the same day it was implemented. I assume it’s coming snail mail. Has anyone else received it? I know it’s not in my email. Maybe she just read it online like the rest of us.


  30. 30
    Jeff Cobb

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (12:40 pm)

    Read what your write: When I look at the article posted by Jeff above, as an outsider, I can see that the article is also biased toward the support of Volt in this situation, as he kindly ignored the “concerns” Dr. Dennis has raised – not toward the media, but rather, toward the Volt, as NY Times has reported. NOT-A-WORD

    You don’t really know what you are talking about. You call me out by name, but you hide in anonymity saying readers here are as ignorant as those who blame doctors for saying smoking can cause cancer.

    I recorded every word Lyle gave me. If he said more to NYT, I had not seen it.

    A news report is a snapshot in time. If Lyle had told me more, I would have reported it.

    All other facts have been recorded in proper context in this follow-up piece, and in the two articles on this topic already posted.

    You call me out in the court of public opinion, but you give no one the chance to really face the accuser and you present shoddy evidence – throwing it on the wall to see what sticks.

    Who is the one with tainted motives and means here?


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    drbruce

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (1:06 pm)

    Just wait till gas goes to $10/gallon or another attack from our oil producing friends. Long live the VOLT!!


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    CorvetteGuy

     

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (1:15 pm)

    volt11: Interesting, I’d like to know how she received the letter the same day it was implemented.

    I did not ask her if it was email or snail mail.


  33. 33
    CorvetteGuy

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (1:19 pm)

    Kent: I’ve had my 2012 Volt for just over three months now. I haven’t received any correspondence from GM or a Volt Advisor on any software upgrades. Also, I have not received the above letter either. Is there any reason why I am not getting any info from GM? What does the software upgrade provide?

    To clarify, my customer has one of the first 2011 VOLTs. I don’t know if the software upgrade is needed on a 2012. I will check with our Service Manager and find out. :)


  34. 34
    Bob G

     

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (1:37 pm)

    Read what your write:
    Why are you “Volt / GM” defenders keeps blaming NHTSA for doing its job, the way that it’s done correctly?Our tax $ is at work here.NHTSA is a gov’t org, hence not for profit.GM’s partly a private company, and it is FOR PROFIT.What’s the point of the gov’t to bad mouth the Volt, when NHTSA doesn’t sell or provide discount on any other type of vehicles?

    You guys think about it.This is the same thing as, you are blaming the surgeon general/MDs for telling you that smoking can cause lung cancer, rather than the tobacco companies for selling their cigarettes, when you decide to keep smoking, ignoring the risk of the cancer.Mind you, there’s no 100% scientific proof that shows smoking can cause cancer, which is like, there’s no 100% scientific proof that the battery fire can cause immediately right after the crash!

    As far as media is concerned – they are also doing their jobs, reporting the news.How the media spin it, it’s up to them, and that’s why WE have brains – to analyze and decide.When I look at the article posted by Jeff above, as an outsider, I can see that the article is also biased toward the support of Volt in this situation, as he kindly ignored the “concerns” Dr. Dennis has raised – not toward the media, but rather, toward the Volt, as NY Times has reported.NOT-A-WORD.Is that good news reporting, as per the standards that you folks are suggesting?I think not.

    The NHTSA is raising safety concerns about the safety of a vehicle, but conspicuously absent from their press release is any mention that they failed to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation to discharge the damaged battery.

    http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2011/Statement+of+the+National+Highway+Traffic+Safety+Administration+On+Formal+Safety+Defect+Investigation+of+Post-Crash+Fire+Risk+in+Chevy+Volts

    Cigarettes cause cancer when used as intended. The Chevy Volt does *not* start fires when used as intended.


  35. 35
    volt11

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    Nov 29th, 2011 (1:51 pm)

    Read what your write: Why are you “Volt / GM” defenders keeps blaming NHTSA for doing its job, the way that it’s done correctly? Our tax $ is at work here. NHTSA is a gov’t org, hence not for profit. GM’s partly a private company, and it is FOR PROFIT. What’s the point of the gov’t to bad mouth the Volt, when NHTSA doesn’t sell or provide discount on any other type of vehicles?You guys think about it. This is the same thing as, you are blaming the surgeon general/MDs for telling you that smoking can cause lung cancer, rather than the tobacco companies for selling their cigarettes, when you decide to keep smoking, ignoring the risk of the cancer. Mind you, there’s no 100% scientific proof that shows smoking can cause cancer, which is like, there’s no 100% scientific proof that the battery fire can cause immediately right after the crash!As far as media is concerned – they are also doing their jobs, reporting the news. How the media spin it, it’s up to them, and that’s why WE have brains – to analyze and decide. When I look at the article posted by Jeff above, as an outsider, I can see that the article is also biased toward the support of Volt in this situation, as he kindly ignored the “concerns” Dr. Dennis has raised – not toward the media, but rather, toward the Volt, as NY Times has reported. NOT-A-WORD. Is that good news reporting, as per the standards that you folks are suggesting? I think not.

    Your post is a gross oversimplification of the prevailing attitude here. Many of us “defend” the Volt because it is regularly attacked in the media. I can’t think of another car in history, and that even includes the Corvair and Prius, that has been the subject of so much vitriol, often attributable to political leanings. And that includes (at least) name calling attacks on people who buy a Volt, which are quite easy to find in the media. Like here for example: http://biggovernment.com/wthuston/2011/11/28/the-chevy-volt-detroits-hottest-car/ (and be sure to read the comments section.) We know from experience that the Volt is a fantastic car and a potential game changer, and it deserves our support, in part because we want it to survive for the long term (and so we can buy future generations of this technology.)

    That said, I don’t think Jeff Cobb’s article can be called unduly biased. He’s writing for what is essentially a fan site, and given that I think he kept the coverage factual, professional, and full of useful information. What do you think he should be doing, getting Rush Limbaugh’s opinion on the matter for inclusion?

    Finally, you’re painting the folks here with a very broad brush, and I’m really not sure where it’s coming from. While some have suggested that NHTSA hasn’t handled this fairly, or screwed this up themselves by not de-powering the crashed Volt’s battery, I think most people are more neutral about NHTSA’s investigation and just hoping it gets resolved quickly. I believe NHTSA could have handled this whole thing better, but I also think the investigation is justified, and also even can see why they’re only focusing on the Volt and not including the Leaf et. al. Meanwhile, I think people here are MUCH more concerned, and justifiably so, about how the media is sensationalizing the headlines in such a way that casual readers will probably come away thinking that Volts are exploding and burning up in people’s hands, which couldn’t be further from the truth. THAT very real threat needs to be defended against, for many good reasons, if for no other than people’s resale values will be unduly harmed.

    NHTSA initiates safety investigations as a matter of course, and typically they usually get minimal coverage if any, especially by non-automotive press. Because it’s the politicized Volt, we Volt enthusiasts haven’t been nearly so fortunate.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (2:02 pm)

    Ok. Here is what I got from our wise ol’ Service Manager…

    Any VOLT that requires the ‘Software Update’ will get a notice from GM. It does not apply across the board for each and every VOLT built. If a VOLT owner has any concerns they can contact their Chevy Dealer – Service Advisor and have them punch in the VIN number and it will tell them if the update is needed for that car.

    The software update is a ‘tweek’ to the operating control module for the car and it affects settings for main battery output, regen braking settings, and other calibrations to ‘enhance’ the efficiency of the drive system.

    He tells me that, “a VOLT owner can drive their vehicle without these enhancements and never have any problems or issues. It is just an update.”

    It does however take at least a full day to download it to the car and install it.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (2:11 pm)

    Batteries and chemical potential are not a new technology. They have been around longer than the combustion engine.

    To say that we need to understand this technology further is like saying we need to further understand what happens when you combine vinegar and baking soda.

    The understanding is lacking in the application not the battery itself. BTW, are Leaf’s being investigated? How about Prius’s or Insights or Civic hybrids. How about any hybrid for that matter, all have battery packs.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (2:11 pm)

    Loboc: A question I have is: Why is a government agency bringing this investigation into public record *before* the investigation is completed?It seems irresponsible to make any public statements while the investigation is ongoing. It brings this into the realm of a political move not a public safety one.;

    My thoughts exactly! +1

    More like NHTSA is covering their asses at the expense of the Chevy Volt. How far will they take it, and how will they promote their findings when they conclude their investigation and discover there is no hazard? It almost doesn’t matter since the accusation is always heard more loudly than the defense. Unfortunately in the arena of public opinion today, especially in media, it’s “Guilty Until Proven Innocent, – but Still Damaged”.

    VOLT. MORE DRIVE – LESS FILLING! ,

    James


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (2:13 pm)

    To be fair with GM, all electric cars that are on the market should be subjected exactly the same

    way the Volt was subjected by the NHTSA, but I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (2:54 pm)

    WVhybrid:
    After reading everything I can get my hands on about this issue, I’m going to get in my Volt and drive to work.

    ‘Nuff said.

    #3

    Me too. +1


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (2:56 pm)

    George: BTW, are Leaf’s being investigated? How about Prius’s or Insights or Civic hybrids. How about any hybrid for that matter, all have battery packs.

    The answer is no, they’re not, but after some thought I’m willing to give NHTSA a pass on that. After all, the only EV they crash tested that caught on fire later was the Volt. As much as I hate to say so, it’s reasonable to just focus this investigation there, and if they didn’t do anything at all they could be fairly accused of covering up the incident.

    Fortunately for us and GM, nobody has been hurt or killed from any Volt battery fire (even if it takes weeks to start after an accident), and GM has the opportunity here to appear proactive, concerned, and I expect will probably conclude this with a recall that gives at least the appearance of resolution, lick the wounds and hopefully move on. Sure the conspiracy theorists on the right won’t let it go so easily, no more so than they accept Obama’s birth certificate, but I think the non-lunatic general public (the few who even care in the first place) will faintly note that NHTSA blessed the “fix” and think little more about it.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (2:57 pm)

    volt11: Interesting, I’d like to know how she received the letter the same day it was implemented. I assume it’s coming snail mail. Has anyone else received it? I know it’s not in my email. Maybe she just read it online like the rest of us.

    #29

    I got it yesterday via email from the VA group.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (3:00 pm)

    volt11: Interesting, I’d like to know how she received the letter the same day it was implemented. I assume it’s coming snail mail. Has anyone else received it? I know it’s not in my email. Maybe she just read it online like the rest of us.

    I got a copy of the letter from my Volt Advisor yesterday in email.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (3:02 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: You don’t really know what you are talking about. You call me out by name, but you hide in anonymity

    #30

    I wouldn’t have given him the satisfaction of a response. Don’t give it a thought. Just another jerk with an axe to grind. It goes with the territory. PDNFTT.

    I didn’t even look at his comment. Once they accumulate enough “-1s” from this group to send them “off the island”, I just give them one more for good measure and don’t even click. Smile. Next case!


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (4:11 pm)

    I agree this is definitely blown out of proportion by the NHTSA and the media.

    However, as a Leaf owner, I’m definitely interested in whether the lack of liquid coolant coolant and a fuel tank will result in a lower probability of a post-crash fire.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (4:13 pm)

    George: To say that we need to understand this technology further is like saying we need to further understand what happens when you combine vinegar and baking soda.

    I like to perform mentos & coke research. ;0)

    I agree it’s more about what failures will cause a boom, not the boom itself.
    There should be an FMEA on the battery, but I doubt anyone outside of GM will see it, unless the NHTSA gets a copy.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (4:14 pm)

    yoyo: I agree this is definitely blown out of proportion by the NHTSA

    Seem’s like I found another ‘TSA’ that rubs me the wrong way. (sometimes literally)


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (5:13 pm)

    From watching this, I see a lot of talk about the battery being tested a lot up until now but most must have been “usability testing” and not “throwing packs down the stairs or out a 3rd floor window” testing. They need some “Duke Boys” testing (referencing the Dukes of Hazzard) where some guys get down and dirty and go about abusing the system to come up with some data similar to the NHTSA findings. We see that yes, the original side impact fire was reproduceable almost “easily” through a battery (sorry) of tests performed this past two weeks. If it was that easy to reproduce the side-impact fire results – I doubt that a large amount of impact and abuse testing was done during lab work over the last year or two. Rather heat/cooling charge/recharge/discharge abuses were probably done to determine how best to handle the TMS and create battery longevity.

    I think we need more “throw it down the stairs” type of testing done here. And I’m eager to see the results coming out of the ongoing investigation. Crystalization? Something else? Let’s see how it goes. Hoping for the best and the best being something akin to “a circuit board design of a cell balancing module was found to interact with the cooling fluid in a negative manner after an impact of 20G or higher and we will be redesigning that…”


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (5:17 pm)

    kdawg,

    I heard Mentos works better with Diet Coke, although I’m not sure why. Maybe we can get the NHTSA to look into this?


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (5:17 pm)

    “The reality is that it does make me a little uneasy — a little bit, a tiny bit,” said Lyle Dennis, a New York neurologist and early owner who founded the Web site GM-Volt.com. - from the New York Times – Business Day article ” A Setback for Electric Cars”.

    Come on, Lyle…REALLY?!!!

    Lyle, when I got my Prius in 2007 it was new territory for me also. I read my owner’s manual and noted the mentions of safety features like clear labeling of high voltage components; disconnect points for first responders and bright orange wiring. It seemed very sorted – but with little children riding in the back, I had thoughts about – “what if-?…” Such as if the car were to be submerged in water, etc., etc.. I mean, that’s normal, it’s human…. After a few weeks of driving the car and reading everything I could get my hands upon re: hybrid safety, I set my fears aside.

    For you, the founder of GM-Volt.com to tell the NEW YORK TIMES you have teenie tiny doubts is WRONG buddy! IMO even if you had the doubts – Don’t blab them all over the largest newspaper in the country! What say you, were you misquoted?

    VOLT. MORE FREEDOM THAN ELECTRIC! ,

    James

    Here’s the entire article in case you’re interested: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/business/gm-declares-chevy-volt-safe.html

    At last count on Google: It stated 1150 articles on the subject of the NHTSA investigation.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (6:03 pm)

    Kent:
    kdawg,

    I heard Mentos works better with Diet Coke, although I’m not sure why.Maybe we can get the NHTSA to look into this?

    Save the money. Use Diet Coke because it doesn’t leave a sticky mess. Just a wet mess.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (6:18 pm)

    Noel Park: #29

    I got it yesterday via email from the VA group.

    =======================================

    My e-mail came this morning from my Volt Advisor

    After reading many of these reports, and all the posts here, all I can say is, that unless my Volt is in a pretty severe accident, I am not concerned.

    JMHO

    C-5277


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (6:28 pm)

    Bonaire:
    From watching this, I see a lot of talk about the battery being tested a lot up until now but most must have been “usability testing” and not “throwing packs down the stairs or out a 3rd floor window” testing.They need some “Duke Boys” testing (referencing the Dukes of Hazzard) where some guys get down and dirty and go about abusing the system to come up with some data similar to the NHTSA findings.We see that yes, the original side impact fire was reproduceable almost “easily” through a battery (sorry) of tests performed this past two weeks.If it was that easy to reproduce the side-impact fire results – I doubt that a large amount of impact and abuse testing was done during lab work over the last year or two.Rather heat/cooling charge/recharge/discharge abuses were probably done to determine how best to handle the TMS and create battery longevity.

    I think we need more “throw it down the stairs” type of testing done here.And I’m eager to see the results coming out of the ongoing investigation.Crystalization?Something else?Let’s see how it goes.Hoping for the best and the best being something akin to “a circuit board design of a cell balancing module was found to interact with the cooling fluid in a negative manner after an impact of 20G or higher and we will be redesigning that…”

    I guess I would have to go back and find links, but I know GM spent lots of time and money making sure this battery was safe.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (6:33 pm)

    James:
    .

    Come on, Lyle…REALLY?!!!

    James

    Uhh James, please don’t slam Lyle.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (6:38 pm)

    George S. Bower,

    “throw it down the stairs” testing? You can’t be serious. It’s 2011 not 1711

    I believe the scientific method has served us well and results in a stronger understanding of root cause and potential solution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (6:46 pm)

    The throw it down the stairs was mine. What I mean is “abuse testing takes many avenues” and repeatable testing through specific documented ways only is not enough. Such as “we always crash 30mph into an off-center barrier. That’s how we always do it”. Or “we always hit it from the side at an angle of 30* into the driver side door, that’s how we always do it.”

    The idea of “throw it down the stairs” means, basically to “dream up another abuse-test today different than we usually do”. More ad-hoc randomness. Or, “throw it down the stairs”.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (8:00 pm)

    This entire fire problem can be summarized as revenge of the electric car. Is the Volt so upset at being hit that it expresses itself with a bit of fiery revenge?


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (8:34 pm)

    George S. Bower: Uhh James, please don’t slam Lyle.

    Is it wrong to ask Dr. Dennis to explain why he told the New York Times he has doubts about the Volt being safe?

    If so, tell me why.

    I think his comments to the newspaper with the highest circulation in the USA were dubious. How can my asking for his explanation be interpreted as “slamming”?!

    The ONLY answer you could shoot back at me is-”gee, well everybody has a right to his/her own opinion!”…. OK, let’s run with that. Lyle started this website to foster interest in GM’s EREV project that became Volt/Voltec. Dr. Dennis made many aquaintances within GM and some ( including me ) feel that with his “ownership poll” , the site’s popularity, our input and other features, he captured the attention of many decision makers and designers of the car. The Volt was on the chopping block and by no means a “done deal” in the mind of GM for quite some time. The fact it survived is attributed to several things, and I believe Lyle and other proponents helped muscle it through bankruptcy and beyond. Lyle was a CAB member and GM gave him a Volt to drive for 3 months prior to it being available to the public. I think this makes Lyle especially suited to comment on Volt, and a no-brainer go-to guy for media to ask his impressions. I for one, would like to know why he is slightly fearful from this latest information NHTSA has offered BEFORE it’s investigation has concluded, and how Lyle feels this information will/may effect the future of Volt and current owners like himself.

    SO HOW CAN SUCH A PROPONENT of Volt come out in the NY Times as slightly fearful of Volts catching fire? Is this not a valid question to ask? During the economic downturn many debated whether or not a corporation could be “too big to fail”, does this mean on GM-Volt.com no matter what Dr. Dennis says, he’s “too popular to question”? If I made such a statement here I would be severly rifled…If I made this statement as an “expert” on Volt…. IN THE NEW YORK TIMES – You’d be asking for my head!

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (8:35 pm)

    I own a Volt and I am not concerned a bit about my safety or of the safety of any passenger, including my wife and daughter.

    What I am concerned about is how a small cabal of people on the right would hate on a car that is an amazing machine, built by Americans.

    In the 1980′s, these same people would implore you to “buy American… be patriotic and buy a Chevy!” but today, they don’t give a damn that there are thousands of Americans who are employed today because the government stepped in and saved the industry. Matters would be much worse if we did nothing.

    They hate on the Volt despite all the accolades heaped upon it. They claim that the magazines MUST have been bought off by GM and the government. And now that there may be a minor problem days after you crack the battery in half, they are gleeful in their hatred, mindlessly following Fox News, Neil Cavuto and Rush Limbaugh.

    Here are the base reasons for why the Volt is great:

    1) Exceptional design and engineering
    2) Fun to drive
    3) I currently am getting 130 MPG and travel on electric most days
    4) Using American electricity beats using Saudi oil
    5) As my car gets older… it becomes more efficient. Every day, we get a cleaner grid that I draw power from.

    GM… don’t ask me for my Volt back… you can’t have it.

    “Local Power for Local People”
    Re-charge, Re-Volt

    Harrier
    Volt #900


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (9:25 pm)

    Much ado about “nearly” nothing. It will be just common knowledge in a few years “have an accident make sure you drain the battery”
    No big deal….


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (9:44 pm)

    I listened to GM’s entire tele conference yesterday. I heard representatives from the media ask questions derived from incorrect information – then saw the same publish the misinformation online. I see over 1150 articles on Google re: NHTSA’s formal investigation.

    Doesn’t it rile you even just a little bit that NHTSA’s information has been spread over the worldwide web with bits of misinformation or just plain lies sprinkled in? Doesn’t it chap your hide just a tad that NHTSA’s announcement came before any official conclusion or details of it’s tests were published? Is it common procedure to whip out an announcement that singles out one automobile model and states there are no issues with other electric cars – when no one human, zero persons, not one iota of damage or harm to any individual anywhere, anyhow can be attributed to a Chevrolet Volt?!

    If this doesn’t piss you off, you’re NOT a Volt fan. If you’re not scratching your noggin why Dr. Lyle Dennis is stating in the New York Times that he’s “a little bit, a tiny bit uneasy” about NHTSA’s information – I’d venture to say you don’t understand that Dennis is a Volt promoter/proponent. When a true Volt/CAB member, GM insider tells the NYTimes he’s a bit uneasy about this stuff. That’s the kind of stuff that can contribute to killing the entire Voltec platform.

    NHTSA did not re-create the first Volt crash test. Instead they inflicted similar damage to three individual Volt battery packs. They didn’t explain just how they did this, their information was vague. Supposedly one pack had no effect, the second one caught fire 7 days later, and the third caused “sparks” when they simulated side impact, then turned it upon it’s side, such as a rollover accident. Believe me, I’ve looked. This IS NOT the information going out over the web, newspapers and TV outlets worldwide. Most believe three Volts were T-boned in tests then caught fire!

    The third battery seems to be the one causing the most fuss. Mary Barra explained to the media that they detected a nano-second spark ( single spark ) not “sparks” as reported here and elsewhere… She said this spark created no external flame or outside damage. So if your Volt, or Spark — Sparks…. Is this cause for such a rush to judgement?!!! Remember, they’re beating the hell out of these packs and then broadcasting incomplete information BEFORE ANY FINAL CONCLUSIONS, RECALLS or WARNINGS take place – it’s ABSURD! If it weren’t NHTSA I’d call it a smear campaign….But it is a government entity so I’m assuming they’re covering their trail due to the March fire incident whereupon they didn’t follow proper procedure in draining the energy from the pack.

    I want to see the final conclusion. I want to hear the news tell me NOBODY has ever been hurt, or complained about this issue. Yesterday, Mr. Ruess stated nobody so far has taken GM up on their loaner car – Today it appears the ONE gentleman who has appeared in this forum who has complained about his wrecked Volt’s service HAS asked for a loaner – is that any surprise? In his case, I’ve read about his experience in forums, and to date, I think he’s a plant, or a guy who just didn’t know his rights with his insurance company, because a car as severly damaged ( “40 mph T-bone” ) as his would be totalled by any reputable insurance company and he’d be driving a brand-new Volt today-not needing to take GM up on their loaner-fear suppression gesture.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (9:51 pm)

    I spent over 15 minutes discussing with the Times reporter my thoughts in a free-form manner. I am strongly supportive of and thrilled with the Volt. He chose to take that one line because it fits the story he wanted to write – it does not fit my feeling about the car. Jeff gave a much more accurate account about that.

    I am concerned about local mom and pop body shops etc running into trouble – not me as a driver. I am not glad about these fires or the bad press nor is GM. However if some engineering changes have to be made then let them learn from this. This is not just about gen 1 but the whole future of electrification of the automobile. Let’s get it absolutely right.


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (10:00 pm)

    Lyle: I spent over 15 minutes discussing with he Times reporter my thoughts in a free-form manner. I am strongly supportive of and thrilled with the Volt. He chose to take that one line because it fits the story he wanted to write – it does not fit my feeling about the car. Jeff gave a much more accurate account about that.I am concerned about local mom and pop body shops etc running into trouble – not me as a driver. I am not glad about these fires or the bad press nor is GM. However if some engineering changes have to me made then let them learn from this. This is not just about gen 1 but the whole future of electrification of he automobile. Let’s get it absolutely right.

    Thanks Lyle for clearing that up. Even politicians slip up, or say things to media that get blown up out of proportion. Somebody here said I was “slamming” you by asking you to clarify. You of all people should be on your toes to media bias though. Just by stating you were a tad bit uneasy about it gave them all the fodder they needed to bolster their slant. It sells papers.

    I must reiterate – if you have personal questions re: procedures to future wrecked Volts in body shops or wrecking yards, by all means say it – but between friends, or in a forum such as this one…PLEASE do not speak out loud when in the presence of media!

    Seriously Lyle, if the Volt gets a major recall ( this would include all 6,000 or so sold ) – we can call Volt dead. As I’ve stated before – tainted by public opinion means dead in the water. There won’t be any future EVs. Perhaps the damage has already been done. The house fires were media fodder until the investigators cleared the Volts. THIS is AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT SITUATION and it seems to be expanding by the moment.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Nov 29th, 2011 (11:19 pm)

    James: Is it wrong to ask Dr. Dennis to explain why he told the New York Times he has doubts about the Volt being safe?If so, tell me why.I think his comments to the newspaper with the highest circulation in the USA were dubious. How can my asking for his explanation be interpreted as “slamming”?!The ONLY answer you could shoot back at me is-”gee, well everybody has a right to his/her own opinion!”…. OK, let’s run with that. Lyle started this website to foster interest in GM’s EREV project that became Volt/Voltec. Dr. Dennis made many aquaintances within GM and some ( including me ) feel that with his “ownership poll” , the site’s popularity, our input and other features, he captured the attention of many decision makers and designers of the car. The Volt was on the chopping block and by no means a “done deal” in the mind of GM for quite some time. The fact it survived is attributed to several things, and I believe Lyle and other proponents helped muscle it through bankruptcy and beyond. Lyle was a CAB member and GM gave him a Volt to drive for 3 months prior to it being available to the public. I think this makes Lyle especially suited to comment on Volt, and a no-brainer go-to guy for media to ask his impressions. I for one, would like to know why he is slightly fearful from this latest information NHTSA has offered BEFORE it’s investigation has concluded, and how Lyle feels this information will/may effect the future of Volt and current owners like himself. SO HOW CAN SUCH A PROPONENT of Volt come out in the NY Times as slightly fearful of Volts catching fire? Is this not a valid question to ask? During the economic downturn many debated whether or not a corporation could be “too big to fail”, does this mean on GM-Volt.com no matter what Dr. Dennis says, he’s “too popular to question”? If I made such a statement here I would be severly rifled…If I made this statement as an “expert” on Volt…. IN THE NEW YORK TIMES – You’d be asking for my head!RECHARGE! ,James

    I don’t speak for Lyle (he did that above himself), but this is the line you have to walk with being an known advocate, EV owner, writer, site-owner, etc. if you want to maintain credibility. You have to allow for possibilities and accept some realities while still backing the cause you believe in.

    I know for myself, I have a similar position (and I am no stranger to being critical of something I feel is worth noting). I have to allow for that smallest of possibility that there may be an issue here that hurts the movement. That being said, I own these cars, I back them, support them and will endorse them to anyone who would listen…but I’m going to be honest, even to the cause’s detriment.

    Looking at just the raw data for the chemistry, you are looking at an thermal event instance rate of about 1 in 70,000 over the expected back life without accounting for accidents. That is very low. An acceptable level. But, what we can’t account for is the media, and the frequency and verve they will be reported with, especially now since we already have 3 seperate media scrums on this (with 2 not being at all the fault of the Volt). If that 1 in 70,000 number comes up in the short term, and in a high profile way…we are going to have a problem, and not just with Chevy, but with Ford, and with Nissan, all using a very similar (the same in Ford/Chevys case) chemistry.

    Honestly, I think the pack itself matters little to these projects already in production…what we need is just a good, quiet few months to bring some balance back.

    However, there is a bigger picture, and any automaker that is just now working on a new EV project, or more likely, a battery hybrid project of some type, has to now be considering going with something like a iron phosphate based lithium chemistry. Sure, it has some marginal performance deficiencies, but it can take a ton more abuse without a thermal issue…and give more margin of error, as well as some insulation from the current media abuse.

    Not saying GM had prior misgivings about LG’s product of late, but I’m pretty sure they are happy that the Spark is going to be carrying a LiFePO4 pack…just to balance out their portfolio.


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    Nov 30th, 2011 (2:08 am)

    Don’t Let the Facts Get In the Way of Truth

    I guess each of us interpret what we read / hear in the news differently. NHTSA appears to be doing it’s job. The investigation is far from closed. We have no idea the full extent of what NHTSA discovered and I am willing to bet GM leadership has had access to findings from NHTSA up to this point. Their investigation approach has to be methodical to ensure bias does not play a role in the ultimate findings.

    If you take a deep breath and read the transcript from the conference call this week, GM has conceded:
    1) GM had not fully developed post-crash safety procedures before putting the Volt on the market 2) Three weeks after the initial NHTSA vehicle crash test was conducted, GM HAD NOT finalized its battery depowering procedure

    It’s hard to fault NHTSA for not following a post-crash safety procedure they did not have. This is a serious matter and I am glad NHTSA and others are not letting emotions get the best of them.

    James:
    I listened to GM’s entire tele conference yesterday. I heard representatives from the media ask questions derived from incorrect information – then saw the same publish the misinformation online. I see over 1150 articles on Google re: NHTSA’s formal investigation.

    Doesn’t it rile you even just a little bit that NHTSA’s information has been spread over the worldwide web with bits of misinformation or just plain lies sprinkled in? Doesn’t it chap your hide just a tad that NHTSA’s announcement came before any official conclusion or details of it’s tests were published? Is it common procedure to whip out an announcement that singles out one automobile model and states there are no issues with other electric cars – when no one human, zero persons, not one iota of damage or harm to any individual anywhere, anyhow can be attributed to a Chevrolet Volt?!

    If this doesn’t piss you off, you’re NOT a Volt fan. If you’re not scratching your noggin why Dr. Lyle Dennis is stating in the New York Times that he’s “a little bit, a tiny bit uneasy” about NHTSA’s information – I’d venture to say you don’t understand that Dennis is a Volt promoter/proponent. When a true Volt/CAB member, GM insider tells the NYTimes he’s a bit uneasy about this stuff. That’s the kind of stuff that can contribute to killing the entire Voltec platform.

    NHTSA did not re-create the first Volt crash test. Instead they inflicted similar damage to three individual Volt battery packs. They didn’t explain just how they did this, their information was vague. Supposedly one pack had no effect, the second one caught fire 7 days later, and the third caused “sparks” when they simulated side impact, then turned it upon it’s side, such as a rollover accident.Believe me, I’ve looked. This IS NOT the information going out over the web, newspapers and TV outlets worldwide. Most believe three Volts were T-boned in tests then caught fire!

    The third battery seems to be the one causing the most fuss. Mary Barra explained to the media that they detected a nano-second spark ( single spark ) not “sparks” as reported here and elsewhere… She said this spark created no external flame or outside damage. So if your Volt, or Spark — Sparks…. Is this cause for such a rush to judgement?!!! Remember, they’re beating the hell out of these packs and then broadcasting incomplete information BEFORE ANY FINAL CONCLUSIONS, RECALLS or WARNINGS take place – it’s ABSURD! If it weren’t NHTSA I’d call it a smear campaign….But it is a government entity so I’m assuming they’re covering their trail due to the March fire incident whereupon they didn’t follow proper procedure in draining the energy from the pack.

    I want to see the final conclusion. I want to hear the news tell me NOBODY has ever been hurt, or complained about this issue. Yesterday, Mr. Ruess stated nobody so far has taken GM up on their loaner car – Today it appears the ONE gentleman who has appeared in this forum who has complained about his wrecked Volt’s service HAS asked for a loaner – is that any surprise? In his case, I’ve read about his experience in forums, and to date, I think he’s a plant, or a guy who just didn’t know his rights with his insurance company, because a car as severly damaged ( “40 mph T-bone” ) as his would be totalled by any reputable insurance company and he’d be driving a brand-new Volt today-not needing to take GM up on their loaner-fear suppression gesture.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Nov 30th, 2011 (2:41 am)

    I will skip the loaner, but I’ll gladly let GM install a new crash resistant battery in my Volt if it has the same range or better.


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    Nov 30th, 2011 (2:38 pm)

    MotoEco: Don’t Let the Facts Get In the Way of Truth I guess each of us interpret what we read / hear in the news differently. NHTSA appears to be doing it’s job. The investigation is far from closed. We have no idea the full extent of what NHTSA discovered and I am willing to bet GM leadership has had access to findings from NHTSA up to this point. Their investigation approach has to be methodical to ensure bias does not play a role in the ultimate findings. If you take a deep breath and read the transcript from the conference call this week, GM has conceded:1) GM had not fully developed post-crash safety procedures before putting the Volt on the market 2) Three weeks after the initial NHTSA vehicle crash test was conducted, GM HAD NOT finalized its battery depowering procedure It’s hard to fault NHTSA for not following a post-crash safety procedure they did not have. This is a serious matter and I am glad NHTSA and others are not letting emotions get the best of them.

    Note taken. But what about COMMON SENSE?!! These are professionals who crash cars and crunch data all day, every day.

    Don’t you think they have egg all over their collective faces for leaving a “live” Volt in their storage lot for three weeks?

    Email/Phone call to GM: “Hey, this is NHTSA, can you guys give me your preferred method for depowering Volt’s battery pack?”…

    Do they leave full fuel tanks in the totalled ICE cars on their lots?- Hello?

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Nov 30th, 2011 (6:13 pm)

    Lyle,

    Hi Lyle,

    That’s a strongly-valid concern regarding the small mom and pop body shops, (Though most of these have closed down due to the very high technical and monetary overhead now needed to ensure the network of processors located just about everywhere in body work become re-initialized after repairs.)

    The not-so-small body shops won’t likely be doing anything with an extensively damaged electrified vehicle either. But if the damages are localized and clearly away from the higher voltage circuits and components, they may try.

    This is why I think that only completely trained technicians ought be involved when there is any accident at all involving a more highly electrified vehicle. Owners can be improperly misled by the current market standard that “You can have your vehicle repaired where ever you want”. (Per any insurance agency.) This would not be wise.

    Service to Volt or anything else electrified ought to remain a controlled set of procedures at strictly appropriate facilities.

    (This is not like a smaller hybrid battery of one to several kilowatts, of course).

    (For many other readers, )
    The NHTSA is simply clarifying and reenforcing all the procedures to do all this properly, that’s all.


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    Dec 1st, 2011 (6:43 am)

    James,

    Hi James,

    This is exactly the problem with the human language, especially when explanations of technology must pass through the minds of all sorts of mindsets. Firsthand, then secondhand, then third -hand, then what you end up with is that the third hand information has nothing at all to do with the reality of what precisely occurred in the first place.

    Not only that, but, even if you said something like “We are going to get out of [a boring] class early today”, whispered in the ear of the first person, then that person whispers the same intended message into the ear of the second person, and this occurred for the third, fourth and fifth person to a tenth person, you would not have the same message at person number ten, for even good news. This is because people listen frequently for only what they want to hear. They will often change good news into bad. In the above example, the final person said that “We were going to get more homework.” when he was asked to state loudly what he had heard.

    One very street smart retired officer wisely advised me of something twenty years ago:
    “You have to find the right ear”.

    In public forums, you will always hear from the non-listener/ historically-entrenched thinker.

    **************************************************************************************************************
    It is when they *do not* use the freedom of speech that we can not discover what an intended tyrant is about!!
    **************************************************************************************************************


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    Dec 4th, 2011 (10:10 pm)

    statik: However, there is a bigger picture, and any automaker that is just now working on a new EV project, or more likely, a battery hybrid project of some type, has to now be considering going with something like a iron phosphate based lithium chemistry. Sure, it has some marginal performance deficiencies, but it can take a ton more abuse without a thermal issue…and give more margin of error, as well as some insulation from the current media abuse.

    Even changing to the most robust chemistry possible will not reverse a short that occurs outside of the cell packaging. This is foremost an issue of an after accident protocol.