Jan 26

NHTSA and GM say Volt battery issues handled properly, House subcomittee remains unconvinced

 

Yesterday the Volt was again a top automotive news story but not in a way that GM or Volt fans had hoped it would ever be.

As expected, GM CEO Dan Akerson and David Strickland, administrator for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration testified before a House subcommittee to answer allegations of impropriety and politically motivated covering up for the Volt.

The allegations were mostly made by Republicans led by Rep. Darrell Issa of California. Questions surrounded how GM and NHTSA dealt with the aftermath of a Volt side-impact crash test fire that started in June, three weeks after NHTSA parked it without discharging the battery.

 

In short, both those on the subcommittee and those asked to defend themselves accused each other of dishonest and unethical political motivations.

For his part, Akerson – himself a Republican – took a shot at critics for what he suggested were partisan attacks against a car and company President Obama has smiled upon.

“Unfortunately, there is one thing we did not engineer,” Akerson said. “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’s what it’s become.”

It is clear politics are involved, but who is in the wrong was the subcommittee’s question. The government still has a 32-percent stake in GM stock, and Issa commented on questionable relations between the Obama administration and U.S. automakers since 2009 taxpayer-funded financial relief was received.

“This unnatural relationship has blurred the lines between the public and private sector as President Obama touts the survival of General Motors as one of the top accomplishments of his administration,” Issa said, “On a policy level, this relationship raises serious questions about whether or not the administration is too heavily invested in the success of GM to be an effective regulator.”

The subcommittee focused more criticism on Strickland, asking also whether the government’s investment in GM – and negotiations about new, higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards – played a role in NHTSA waiting months before releasing information about the fire.

“This is about safety. This is about government’s role,” Issa said.

Strickland was pointedly asked how he had managed to omit disclosure of the June Volt fire when he had last appeared before the subcommittee in October.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and the chair of the subcommittee, asked Strickland.

It was not until Bloomberg broke the story of a formal NHTSA investigation in November that the world knew, but Strickland said if NHTSA had said something during its preliminary investigation, it would have been improper or illegal without first verifying there was a real safety risk.

When NHTSA did announce its formal investigation, some Republicans and media pundits – particularly those already known as Volt and GM critics – said they smelled a rat.

 
Issa (photo taken previously).

When asked, Strickland denied that politics played a role in not disclosing the June fire sooner, but Republicans pursued allegations that the Obama administration might have directly intervened to protect the Volt’s reputation.

Akerson said that he had no talks with Obama administration officials about the fire.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, also a GM dealer, further asked Akerson if the Obama administration played a role in GM’s business. Akerson said since he has been at the helm, it has not.

“I will testify in front of the good Lord that this administration has never had a presence in the boardroom or any input in the operation of the business,” Akerson said.

Subcommittee members also asked Strickland whether GM or the Obama administration asked NHTSA to suppress the at-first informal investigation in months following the June fire.

“Absolutely not,” said Strickland.


After months of trying, in November NHTSA tested stand-alone Volt batteries and finally reproduced one post-crash fire. Akerson said the likelihood of it happening in the real world were slim.

Pursuing another line of questioning, Issa asked Akerson whether NHTSA’s response was “more aggressive or less aggressive” compared to a “typical catastrophic event” and Akerson answered it was “proportional.”

Although Issa characterized the June Volt incident as a “catastrophic event,” the actual degree of danger represented by a three-week-later fire is in question.

As has been reported for more than a month now, over 200,000 gasoline cars were involved in fires in the U.S. in 2010, but not one Volt has yet caught on fire outside of a test lab.

The extended-range electric Volt has been declared by NHTSA to be as safe as a combustion-powered car, but worries over “fire” have been said to have amplified reactions because EV technology is still new. Issa revealed this has also weighed into his stance.


Strickland.

“The truth is, they should have been more aggressive,” Issa said of NHTSA. “This is a brand-new car.”

So the House subcommittee is being more aggressive after the fact, effectively saying it is doing a public service in the name of safety and ensuring ethics in governmental oversight.

It is actually NHTSA’s public trust and responsibility to stand for integrity in roadway safety. As Issa and company say NHTSA dropped the ball, others have suggested the congressmen are micromanaging their fellow federal officials even as NHTSA has since signed off on the Volt completely.

 

NHTSA’s investigation specifically into the Volt’s battery safety was closed last week, partly in response to actions by GM which cooperated with NHTSA’s investigators and voluntarily reinforced the battery case and battery cooling system to allay fears.

But whether politics have blown the so called “Batterygate” issue beyond what it should have been or not, observers are saying the most near-catastrophic outcome has been to the public image for GM, NHTSA and the Volt.

“I do think there has been collateral damage. We’re going to have to work hard to get it back,” Akerson said of the Volt, echoing others, including Michigan-based auto industry analyst, Alan Baum, principal of Baum & Associates, in a Bloomberg interview this week.

“It’s not unlike a story that’s written that says somebody has committed a murder, and the next day they say, ‘Oh they didn’t, sorry,’” Baum said of news reports about the Volt’s battery possibly being a fire risk. “It’s been in the news.”

And it’s still in the news.

Next up on the House subcommittee’s NHTSA/GM inquiry agenda is it will attempt to compare similar events to see whether it can support its allegation that NHTSA and GM delayed overly long.

At this juncture, the House subcommittee’s statements indicate it believes there is yet reason to doubt, and its posture remains tantamount to declaring NHTSA guilty until proven innocent.

“We are disappointed,” Issa said, indicating he believes irresponsibility, negligence or worse by the highway safety agency is already settled. “NHTSA could have done a much better job” in the timing of the release of information following announcement of CAFE standards.

How NHTSA handled its discovery of the June Volt battery fire, Issa said, amounted to a “statutory cover-up, if you will.”

And though Issa and others are still intent on bearing down, observers noted Akerson altered his statements about the Volt being a political lightning rod, and left out some of the comments written in an advance copy of his testimony.

“The Volt seems, perhaps unfairly, to have become a surrogate for some to offer broader commentary on General Motors’ business prospects and administration policy,” said Akerson’s original written testimony which he did not actually speak to the subcommittee. “These factors should not be discounted as to why federal regulators opened an investigation into the Volt’s battery safety.”

Instead, his actual testimony included the remark about the Volt being a political punching bag, which perhaps sums it up just as well.

Automotive News (subscription), Detroit Free Press.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, January 26th, 2012 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: 62


  1. 1
    James McQuaid

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (6:04 am)

    Dan Akerson did a great job of defending the Volt in this kangaroo court.

    G.M. should aggressively defend the Volt through articulate advertising; something which has not yet happened to any significant degree.


  2. 2
    xiaowei1

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (6:49 am)

    amazing… the way i see it (as an outsider), is the fire was investigated internally to work out what actually happened and if it was a safety issue we needed to worry about. It was found that there was nothing to be concerned with; though improvements have been made to prevent such fires just in case. Now the government (or parts thereof) are simply jumping up and down to get attention because there is political mileage in this.

    The committee is wooing the section of the community that feels GM somehow representing a down fall in capitalism as it was propped up with government investment – Of course let’s not mention pensions or social security is socialist in nature… suffice to say, this is all just harping on about something that simply is a non-issue to milk sections of the public for what it can.

    Ultimately, the committee is rehashing to the public that GM has government money invested in it for self-gain. What the committee should be doing is commending GM for trying to get the US off of oil dependency!

    I’m not even from the US and I can see all this as plain as day!


  3. 3
    Shock Me

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (7:19 am)

    When they next look for who killed the electric car next time they can go straight to the congress.


  4. 4
    ewiggins

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (7:59 am)

    Shock Me,

    We just have to remember which panel members praised GM/Volt for their remarkable engineering and which members tried to make it a ‘Tear down Obama/GM/Unions’ session.


  5. 5
    Schmeltz

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (8:12 am)

    I saw part of this hearing on live stream yesterday. I think Dan Akerson did an outstanding job. My favorite quote of his was, “…we did not engineer the Volt to be a political punching bag and that’s what it’s become.” I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken.

    Akerson: Well deserved +1


  6. 6
    kdawg

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (8:24 am)

    Pursuing another line of questioning, Issa asked Akerson whether NHTSA’s response was “more aggressive or less aggressive” compared to a “typical catastrophic event” and Akerson answered it was “proportional.”
    ——————

    Hahaha.. Akerson is too smart for that BS Issa. Try again.


  7. 7
    kdawg

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (8:37 am)

    Does anyone see the hypocrisy by these Congress members? They are falsely claiming the Obama administration has interfered with the private sector and has influenced GM’s business plan. They have a huge problem with this type of influence. However all of them willinging take money from lobbyists to dictate their policies, and money from corporations to fund their elections. I guess influence is only good in one direction, the one that leads to lining their pockets.

    Its also funny that Issa & his gang are against goverment influence, but what’s the function of the NHTSA other than to influence car-makers to make safe cars? What about CARB? Isn’t his House subcomittee influencing the work of the NHTSA? Now we have the government influencing itself. Maybe we should form a sub-subcomittee, to look into the reasoning behind this House subcomittees’ actions, to see if they are politically motivated and are wasting American tax dollars…. oh wait…. I see where this is going.


  8. 8
    joe

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (9:03 am)

    Hypocrisy is at an all time high in DC. I live in the area and I experience it first hand. I sure hope those hypocrites gets elected out of office!


  9. 9
    kdawg

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (9:10 am)

    I wonder if Issa is relying on past experience as an arsonist to flush out the truth. LOL. Sort of like a an ex-hacker who now helps people make their networks more secure. (at least in his mind, this may be happening)


  10. 10
    Nelson

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (9:12 am)

    Every overblown or false negative statement on National television or radio (Fox News) about the Volt, lowers the potential resale value of current Volt owners. Seems like Volt owners need a good class action lawyer to review the footage of negative broadcast statements and decide if they have a case against these broadcasters of misinformation. Slander is slander and can hurt more than just the manufacturer.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


  11. 11
    HarryM

     

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (9:33 am)

    I am personally conflicted on this whole matter. While I am conservative bordering on libertarian, I am also a fan of the Volt from the concept to the present.

    I very much think that GM should have been allowed to go through bankruptcy like a normal company. I think they would have come out stronger, been able to shed some union baggage that was driving them into the ground, and they wouldn’t have screwed their bond holders. Instead the UAW was given an ownerships stake, as well as the federal government getting an ownership stake. I absolutely believe the government exerted pressure on changing the corporate officers at GM. I am very much against the government taking an ownership stake in any private company, and giving the UAW a stake is like inviting the wolf into your house after he has been picking off your sheep one by one for years.

    Unfortunately, GM and the Volt have been lumped into the rest of the green energy boondoggles the current administration has been attempting to invest in while watching them fail one by one. My own personal belief is the government should not be investing in private companies, as this unnaturally picks winners and loser in the market, and rarely ends well. My main initial reason for loving the Volt was the concept of decreasing foreign oil consumption and granting ourselves energy independence. I personally could care less about carbon footprints and man made global warming, as I think both are fairly big crocks.

    However, all that being said, I am a huge Volt fan, and am dismayed that it is a lightning rod (so to speak) for criticism from my side of the aisle. I think it is a great leap forward in engineering and tech in the automobile world, and puts GM ahead in the race to electrify the transportation of the USA. I plan to buy one, tax credit or not, either in late 2012 or 2013. I’ve done a test drive with my wife and we are both sold. I just wish that it hadn’t been born at the time of all this troubles for GM.


  12. 12
    BLIND GUY

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (10:13 am)

    NHTSA did their job and learned a good lesson on battery discharging. Make no mistake; this hearing was all about politics IMO. I am totally disgusted with the FUD being spread about the Volt and it is the same kind of FUD being spread about our current President. I looked into buying a Volt 12-11 but could not get enough for our trade. If the numbers work out better next Dec., I would like to buy a Volt; just to piss-off these Politicians and Media that spread these lies and FUD. I will be happy to give up my EV tax credit right after ALL oil subsidies of all kinds and all super-pack/influence monies are stopped.


  13. 13
    Raymondjram

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (10:22 am)

    I saw the last hour of the hearings at CSPAN.ORG. I have C-SPAN on cable, but that channel had Rep. Gabriel Gifford’s resignation ceremony (it was sad), so I visited the web site and saw the hearings there (it was on C-SPAN3 which I don’t have).

    Akerson came out great with his answers and I believe GM was praised by several of the members, but obviously there was some resentment between them. The “political football” game was there. I am bothered by that “game” but I hope that the American voters will change that by November and we will see new Congress members by this date next year.

    Now it is GM’s turn to take advantage of this positive move, manufacture more Volts and Amperas, and produce more Voltec vehicles.

    Raymond

    P.S. I saw the fire video posted here, and I see the fire being put out with water. Isn’t that the wrong way to put out a chemical/electrical fire, especially if the lithium cells had ruptured? I would assume that they used foam or carbon dioxide.


  14. 14
    Jackson

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (10:44 am)

    I recently went hunting for this old comment of mine, written as the current anti-Volt pogrom was beginning a couple of years ago. Intended as a retort to those who hold this viewpoint, it still holds up remarkably well. Here it is, with light editing:

    “In my opinion there are 4 major reasons why people are trashing the Volt:

    1) If you love Barack Obama, you might not like this; but the fact is many people do not. Consider the results of the last election if you doubt this.

    The Volt is widely but wrongly perceived as somehow being the brainchild of Obama. In fact, as most long-timers on this site know, the Volt was introduced as a concept (and was driven to DC as a production-intent prototype) before the current administration. Furthermore, GM survived long enough to reach Govt sponsored bankruptcy under Obama because of TARP, which was signed by George W. Bush.

    2) “Government Motors.” Those who hate the government “picking winners” through use of taxpayer funds, and the fate of bondholders vs union members, have a transferred a great of this hatred to all things GM; Volt included. These people fail to understand that the taxpayers won’t get their money back (or the US get auto manufacturing leadership back), unless GM is successful. With this public hatred, they are working against their own interests.

    3) Conservative resistance. Rush Limbaugh leads a surprisingly solid cabal of right-wing resistance to the Volt; based mostly on willful misinformation. One could cite “Government Motors,” a derision of hybrids in general as being favored mainly by Liberals, and the long infatuation of the Right for SUVs.

    More significantly though, these same mouthpieces were singing the praises of GM, even doing on-air endorsements and commercials, prior to 2008; before GM pulled the account (possibly to avoid offending the party which held GM’s fate in it’s hands).

    4) Perhaps most significantly of all, there are a lot of people who refuse to forget the past. GM’s performance prior to bankruptcy was, shall we say, less than stellar. These are the people still buying Toyotas over GM products based mainly on the lessons of the ’70s and ’80s; which refuse to acknowledge the realities of the 21st century: A resurgent GM and a faltering Toyota.

    One would think that the advancement of this technology, and it’s value for energy independence, would dawn on more people. Unfortunately, political and popular inertia is a powerful force to overcome.”

    The only major change I would make today is to remove “Perhaps most significantly of all” from the beginning of point 4. This ‘political lightning rod’ aspect of the Volt has assumed a frightening life of it’s own, and could well be the greatest threat the car currently faces.

    I likely wouldn’t soft-pedal so much in the first paragraph of point 1, either.

    Well said, HarryM; [+1].


  15. 15
    kdawg

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (11:06 am)

    “This is about safety. This is about government’s role,” Issa said.

    BS!
    No one there thinks the Volt is unsafe. No one is asking questions about how safe the car is. It’s about trying to create a psedu-cover-up, to gain political points. What did Issa do during the BP oil spill? Did he say “Drilling is not safe”? No, he blamed the Obama administration on the cleanup. What did he do during Hurricane Katrina? Did he say the levies were not safe? No he blasted social programs that helped survivors.

    Is there such a thing as a “frivolous law suit law”, regarding frivolous House subcomittee hearings?

    California.. please get rid of this guy.

    Pennysylvania, please get rid of Mike Kelly.


  16. 16
    kdawg

     

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (11:08 am)

    I had spelled the word “committee” in my posts, but then doubted my spelling. I looked at the title of the article then changed my spelling to “comittee”.

    Doh!


  17. 17
    flmark

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (11:15 am)

    I would like to expand on the ‘hypocrisy’ concept previously tendered. EVERY GOP candidate has said it is time to gut the EPA because it has too much power and is killing jobs. Yet, these same GOP weenies are saying that NHTSA should have interfered in private commerce long before it did- and at a time when lack of information could have (illegally) defamed a major US corporation that recently took back the world sales crown. It is apparent that the GOP is only paying lip service to the ‘saving jobs’ crock, as many jobs would be lost if NHTSA started raising red flags before even preliminary investigations yielded substantiation that the public welfare is threatened. I guess not ALL jobs matter to the GOP. And while they say it is a matter of safety and public welfare, I believe the EPA provides a similar public welfare role to the agency currently under the spotlight.

    Thank you, xiaowei1, for pointing out that even third parties can see the disgusting, inexcusable hypocrisy that the GOP is exhibiting. I am no longer a Republican- and as soon as every other reasonable person leaves this party, perhaps it can be dispatched to history (like the Whigs).


  18. 18
    kdawg

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (11:28 am)

    Issa.jpg


  19. 19
    Noel Park

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (11:43 am)

    Cheapazz political theater. God send that the news cycle will now move on. Actually, I didn’t see much if any play over this on the news outlets last night, or in the paper this morning. Time to put our heads down and move forward.


  20. 20
    Noel Park

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (11:44 am)

    kdawg: California.. please get rid of this guy.

    #15

    Yeah, it’s embarrassing. +1 I’m glad I don’t live in his district, but it would be nice to be able to vote against him, LOL.


  21. 21
    Bonaire

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (11:44 am)

    I’m thinking of voting for a Llama in my local congressional election. Same results, more cute.

    As a registered republican, this is not what I want the party to be doing to solve problems. What an animal does when in trouble is flight or fight and maybe this “fight” is what they think will win them elections. However, Obama is looking more and more like the next winner in November. Many speculate that Newt will be the R-nominee and will then lose to Obama.


  22. 22
    Noel Park

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (11:46 am)

    joe:
    Hypocrisy is at an all time high in DC. I live in the area and I experience it first hand. I sure hope those hypocrites gets elected out of office!

    #8

    Amen! +1


  23. 23
    Noel Park

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (11:48 am)

    kdawg: I wonder if Issa is relying on past experience as an arsonist to flush out the truth. LOL.

    #9

    LOL. +1

    Or maybe “smoke out the truth”, hahaha. See also #8


  24. 24
    Steverino

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (11:53 am)

    I did not leave the Republican party, it left me by taking the path to crazy town.

    This so-called safety hearing is just one example of how far the Republican party has fallen. The charade the GOP members put on had nothing to do with safety, the American people, or bettering the economy. Nor were they seeking answers. When they asked a question and then talked over the response with another question before the first could be answered, it was clear they wanted to simply make statements posed as questions, they were not seeking answers.

    This is part of the “make Obama fail by any means” strategy that cares nothing about collateral damage to jobs, the economy, or the American people.


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    pjkPA

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (12:02 pm)

    What everyone here should do is go online and defend the Volt… reply to all these yellow journalists…

    When you do something too good… there is always people who will hate you… just for being so good.


  26. 26
    Steve

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (12:08 pm)

    Why would I expect a bunch of politicians to have anything worthwhile to say about an engineering matter? I bet I can find more productive things for them to be working on.


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    Selling Volts at Sundance

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (12:24 pm)

    Greatest Line of the day………….

    “As the Wall Street Journal wrote in its Volt review: We should suspend our rancor and savor a little American pride. A bunch of Midwestern engineers in bad haircuts and cheap wristwatches just out-engineered every other car company on the planet.”

    GM CEO- Akerson


  28. 28
    kdawg

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (12:40 pm)

    Bonaire: However, Obama is looking more and more like the next winner in November.

    His popularity will probably increase some this week after putting in the Navy Seal order to rescue the two hostages in Somalia. I like how he did all of this around giving the state of the union address. Being president must be the most multi-tasking job there is.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203806504577182422284560592.html?fb_ref=wsj_share_FB&fb_source=home_oneline


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    Loboc

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (12:48 pm)

    I don’t know what happened to my iPhone post this morning, but…

    It’s all over but the shouting and stamping of feet. This committee will only create negative votes for themselves by participating in this charade.

    We the People are fed up with all the dis-service by Representatives to their voters. Judging by the negative response to the entire Republican Party, I’m thinking that we will see a second term for the Dems.


  30. 30
    Dan Petit

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (12:49 pm)

    Notice that there is a total absence of any technical detail from the committee which would exonerate the process thoroughly. The battery was out of the vehicle in a field for three weeks without the new standard of discharging of the battery applied.

    NHTSA was setting up a new standards enforcements for decommissioning, and Issa is oblivious to that.


  31. 31
    Texas

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (12:54 pm)

    Not to worry fans, this is all political. This is a big election year and the Republicans want this to be tied to Obama and his saving of the GM.

    Also, the whole Republican doctrine is to drill baby drill and nuclear power. Both are non-renewable resources that will be entering depletion in the coming decades (global crude production has been flat since 2005 despite the price going up over 300%).

    They also think NG will save the world even though we would have to convert all existing cars and build out the entire NG infrastructure, something that will take over 25 years of massive capital expenditures. Also, the transport of NG to other countries that will also need an energy solution for depleting crude is very expensive and requires massive new infrastructure. Just ask the Japanese about their liquid NG ports and ships.

    It doesn’t matter because arguing with facts and evidence is like trying to argue against creation with these people . This is a huge lesson that humans must learn the hard way. If they don’t feel it, they won’t feel the urge to change.

    Another reason not to worry is China knows full well how serious the situation is and is investing heavily in the EV industry. Are we going to lose all those jobs as well? Very likely. Nissan is all in, China is just about to go all in and is deciding on the path as I write this (the Better Place model is being tested currently).


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    BLIND GUY

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (1:10 pm)

    NHTSA and GM say Volt battery issues handled properly, House subcommittee remains unconvinced

    “unconvinced?”…Can you even imagine trying to work with these Republicans; and expect to achieve a fair, and reasonable result? This is what our Congress and President are up against!


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    Bonaire

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (2:12 pm)

    Topical item from Yahoo today

    http://news.yahoo.com/low-iq-conservative-beliefs-linked-prejudice-180403506.html

    Quote from article:
    “Nonetheless, there is reason to believe that strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world.”


  34. 34
    James

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (2:14 pm)

    kdawg:
    I had spelled the word “committee” in my posts, but then doubted my spelling.I looked at the title of the article then changed my spelling to “comittee”.

    Doh!

    It’s OK k, but I’ll offer my advice: use a good spell chequer like I do. I use Word Perfekt and, as you can see, I rarely make a spelling misteak in my posts.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    James

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (2:29 pm)

    From Akerson’s testimony yesterday:

    “As the Wall Street Journal wrote in its Volt review: “We should suspend our rancor and savor a little American pride. A bunch of Midwestern engineers in bad haircuts and cheap wristwatches just out-engineered every other car company on the planet.”

    Isn’t it interesting that the Rupert Murdoch-owned WSJ would publish such and his FOX News outlet allow fops like Cavuto to publically bash the Volt with misinformation for months on end?

    The Volt, being the best technology out there, is taking the punches whilst other automakers are quietly ( and some – BMW – not so quietly ) developing competing technologies. EVs, Hybrids and PHEVs from Ford, Honda, Toyota and others are sneaking past and will silently take Volt’s thunder as gas prices will make them top sellers. Will GM fold under this unrelenting pressure, or will they stand up to the feds and show all what they can do by manufacturing superior Voltec products that will lead the way?

    VOLT, MORE DRIVE – LESS FILLING!,

    James

    P.S. > Tesla is showing the Model S in it’s showrooms. I got a chance to see it, and by the way, IT IS SPECTACULAR!


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    MichaelH

     

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (2:44 pm)

    Selling Volts at Sundance,

    Good post SV@S, pleasant and positive. +1 to you. :-)


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    Noel Park

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (3:11 pm)

    OT, but CARB is just about to vote on a rule requiring 15% of new cars sold in CA to be BEVs or EREVs by 2025. They say that this will result in 1.4 MILLION such vehicles on the road in CA by then. Article in the San Jose Mercury News today.

    They say that the automakers are on board with this, and that there will not be the massive pushback which happened last time with the EV1, et al.

    So maybe GM is onto something here after all, LOL. Develop the technology now, get over all of the inevitable hiccups, today’s thread for example, and be ready when reality dawns. With the help of the visionary “early adopters”, of course. That would be you Volt Nation. You are performing a great public service, whether that is your intention or not, hehehe.

    Go GM Go Volt Go Volt Nation


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (3:14 pm)

    James: It’s OK k, but I’ll offer my advice: use a good spell chequer like I do. I use Word Perfekt and, as you can see, I rarely make a spelling misteak in my posts.

    #34

    Yeah, me too, LOL. +1

    I am, after all, the self proclaimed “King Of The Typos”.


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    john1701a

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (3:14 pm)

    James: Will GM fold under this unrelenting pressure, or will they stand up to the feds and show all what they can do by manufacturing superior Voltec products that will lead the way?

    Since when is it an either/or situation?

    Varying the configuration of Volt to offer another choice should be the next normal step anyway.


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    Noel Park

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (3:23 pm)

    James: Will GM fold under this unrelenting pressure, or will they stand up to the feds and show all what they can do by manufacturing superior Voltec products that will lead the way?

    #35

    Well that’s exactly what they are doing right now IMHO. The Volt is a superior product, and it is clearly leading the way. They just need to stay with it and stay the 2 years ahead they are right now and massive success will inevitably follow.


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (4:09 pm)

    Noel Park: OT, but CARB is just about to vote on a rule requiring 15% of new cars sold in CA to be BEVs or EREVs by 2025.

    How would this work? Lottery for people that want a truck or a Camaro?


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    leeG

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (4:55 pm)

    Concerning the allegation that NHTSA delayed reporting the fire for some political reasons.

    The fact that came out of the hearing, although not acknowledged by the majority party, was that NHTSA took the extraordinarily unusual step of opening a defect investigation without any real world reports or complaints of Volt battery fires. None. The formal investigation was started solely based on NHTSA laboratory results. That’s pretty aggressive on NHTSA’s part.


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (5:01 pm)

    It seems they tested the Volt with charged batteries…do they test ICE cars with full tanks of gas?


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (5:44 pm)

    Bonaire:However, Obama is looking more and more like the next winner in November.

    In someways I agree with you as when it came to last night’s news it seems that Obama became slightly more popular but only time will tell when November comes around the corner?

    Lower unemployment rate and more job creation equals a higher success rate for Obama and I hope that’s how it ends in a very positive direction rather than a negative one.

    Just Saying let’s hope so for the better?


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (5:45 pm)

    Lee:
    It seems they tested the Volt with charged batteries…do they test ICE cars with full tanks of gas?

    I believe that they do. How would you know if the latest model of any manufacturer is as safe as they proclaim if you don’t crash test it? Would you like to be the first victim of a gasoline fueled fire on a real world road in an improperly tested vehicle?

    Since the manufacturer supplies and paid for each test vehicle, the more the tests prove it is safe to drive, the better for the future car buyers and passengers.

    Some members were sad that several Volts were sacrificed in these crash tests, but the members who own a Volt are satisfied that every test proved that their vehicle is the safest vehicle they now use. As of now, the Chevy Volt is the safest vehicle in America, and probably one of the safest in the world.

    Raymond


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (5:49 pm)

    Darrell Issa – “Mr. Akerson, would you like to take some time and explain why you hid the fact the Chevy Volts were bursting into flames?”

    Dan Akerson – “No, but I will. I think the destructive vicious negative nature of much of the news media, makes it harder to engineer great vehicles, harder to attract decent people to buy these vehicles. I’m appalled you would begin a subcommittee hearing on a topic like that.”

    Darrell Issa – “Is that all you want to say, sir?”

    Dan Akerson – “Let me finish. Every person in here knows the Volt is safe. Every person in here has driven a gasoline fueled vehicle. To take a cutting edge design, and claim it catches fire, and that this was covered up by the Obama administration, 9 months before the presidential election, is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine. I am, frankly, astounded that the House Subcommittee would take trash like that and use it to open a hearing.”

    Darrell Issa – “This story did not come from our subcommittee. As you also know, it is the subject of conversation in the media. I get your point, I take –”

    Dan Akerson – “Darrell, it was repeated by your subcommittee. You chose to start the hearing with it. Don’t blame it on somebody else. You and your staff chose to start the hearing with it.”

    ——————
    (disclaimer: “Every quote you read on the internet is true” – Abraham Lincoln)


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (5:52 pm)

    kdawg: How would this work?Lottery for people that want a truck or a Camaro?

    #41

    My understanding is that it’s simply the manufacturer’s responsibility to make the BEV/EREVs, and whatever other technology, if any, qualifies attractive enough through product excellence and/or price that 15% of their customers voluntarily buy them. Otherwise, they’re outta the game in CA.

    Not to worry. By 2025 gas will be so expensive that the problem will be keeping up with demand, not shoving the 15% down people’s throats. JMHO.


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (6:06 pm)

    Lee:
    It seems they tested the Volt with charged batteries…do they test ICE cars with full tanks of gas?

    Raymondjram: I believe that they do…..

    Raymond

    No, they don’t. Stoddard fluid (non-flammable liquid) is commonly used to simulate gasoline by automotive manufacturers and crash test facilities.

    Nobody wants an explosion and fire in the laboratory.


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (6:37 pm)

    Could someone with more legal expertise than I expound as to why GM is not suing FOX News and Neil Cavuto for libel and slander?

    I just watched an excerpt on YouTube of Cavuto claiming Volts were “exploding”, and “bursting into flames” with Representative Issa calling the Volt a “firey failure”.We’ve all watched Cavuto ( or at least clips of Cavuto ) relentlessly, over the year, bashing Volt with misinformation. ” What do you do when you’re stranded after forty miles and you’re stuck by the side of the road?! “; “You’ll risk divorce when your wife claims it was you who forgot to plug it in!”; “It’s a piece of junk”, “absolutely stupid in my opinion”; “This Volt is ridiculous!”….etc etc, and it just goes on and on….

    I understand the freedom of the press, and American freedom of opinion and op-ed. It’s different when lies and misinformation about a product or person is broadcast as fact to millions of viewers, isn’t it?

    I believe a very public lawsuit regarding this would bolster Volt and GM. You better believe it would be front page news, and I believe GM would get a public retraction and apology which would totally overshadow the baloney Cavuto has been spewing and spewing. GM-Volt.com had a very good compilation ( Thanks to Lyle, I believe? ) of dozens of Cavuto smears re: Volt. There is tons of evidence that Cavuto nor Fox could deny.

    Wouldn’t a newspaper, magazine, website or TV outlet be sued by now if it practiced such malicious misinformation about a product or service?

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (7:03 pm)

    James: Could someone with more legal expertise than I expound as to why GM is not suing FOX News and Neil Cavuto for libel and slander?

    I’m not a lawyer, far from it, but I think the hard part would be to prove there was intent to do harm.

    How to prove libel:

    There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, the person first must prove that the statement was false. Second, that person must prove that the statement caused harm. And, third, they must prove that the statement was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement. These steps are for an ordinary citizen. In the case of a celebrity or public official trying to prove libel, they must prove the first three steps, and must (in the United States) prove the statement was made with the intent to do harm, or with reckless disregard for the truth. Usually specifically referred to as “proving malice”.


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (7:08 pm)

    leeG: Nobody wants an explosion and fire in the laboratory.

    News organizations do (and apparently politicians now).

    Interesting read on the history of car crash-test scams by the media.

    http://walterolson.com/articles/crashtests.html


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (7:37 pm)

    James: I just watched an excerpt on YouTube of Cavuto claiming Volts were “exploding”, and “bursting into flames” with Representative Issa calling the Volt a “firey failure”.

    I’ve carefully re-watched all of this Congressional hearing again today. The Volt opponents on the sub-committee used gross exaggerations such as “explosion” & “burst into flames” several times during their questioning/commentary —it’s very important to understand that that is NOT what happened in ANY of the “fires” induced by the NHTSA or by GM! As Dan Akerson pointed out near the conclusion of his testimony, NONE of the NHTSA/GM-induced events involved an EXPLOSION!

    In other words, each induced “fire” involved “smouldering”, “sparking”, etc, but NEVER THE VIOLENT EVENT THE TERMS “BURSTING INTO FLAMES” OR AN “EXPLOSION” IMPLY!

    //I submit that, even if a battery “fire” were to happen with occupants present, any smouldering/
    sparking/melting/heat/etc near the battery’s center “tunnel” or under the floor/back seat of the car would be much easier to avoid and to escape from than an explosion!


  53. 53
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    Jan 26th, 2012 (7:42 pm)

    kdawg: I’m not a lawyer, far from it, but I think the hard part would be to prove there was intent to do harm.

    How to prove libel:


    There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, the person first must prove that the statement was false. Second, that person must prove that the statement caused harm. And, third, they must prove that the statement was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement. These steps are for an ordinary citizen. In the case of a celebrity or public official trying to prove libel, they must prove the first three steps, and must (in the United States) prove the statement was made with the intent to do harm, or with reckless disregard for the truth. Usually specifically referred to as “proving malice”.

    Wow! Wouldn’t you say even with your own definition that A) Provable harm has been done ( just cite the sheer number of articles, blogs and ink that have been birthed by these accusations and false claims ) B) Reckless regard to the truth has been exhibited? See, it’s not just the untruths ( today, Cavuto claimed GM recalled the Volt ), but the sheer amount and regularity of his lies.

    Slander and libel would not be hard to prove, I’m certain.

    GM, grow some and get going. This kind of thing in an election year could put FOX on it’s heels, or they will seek to quicken a beneficial result fast ( apology ) and get on with their OCD re: the Republican bid for the presidency.

    I think it could cost Cavuto his job ( CNN and FOX have both let go anchors in the last year for much less, sometimes just for asking for more salary ). After all GM is a huge corporation , huge lawyers, lots of media coverage, etc..

    Refreshing if GM would go on the OFFENSIVE and get off the DEFENSIVE on this subject.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (8:02 pm)

    kdawg: News organizations do (and apparently politicians now).

    #51

    Well you beat me to it there, LOL. +1


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (8:07 pm)

    James: I just watched an excerpt on YouTube of Cavuto

    #49

    I have never seen this Cavuto guy, and wouldn’t know him if i bumped into him on the street. And I plan to keep it that way. IMHO these guys are just like the trolls that show up here. PDNFTT. The less people watch them and talk about them, the less ink and ratings they are going to get, and the sooner they will go the way of the Hannity jerk.

    Maybe they have enough of a base of poor benighted souls to keep them going forever, but I’m not going to contribute to it even in the slightest way. Again, JMHO.

    As soon as Darryl gets his stupid face on TV a few more times and his stupid name in the papers ditto, this whole tempest in a teapot will die a quiet death.


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    Tim in SC

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    Jan 26th, 2012 (9:41 pm)

    A Republican is worried about the government being an effective regulator, ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? All I’ve heard since 2008 is Republicans blast “job-killing regulations,” yet now they want the government to closely regulate the Volt. Freakin’ unbelievable…


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (10:27 pm)

    HarryM: I very much think that GM should have been allowed to go through bankruptcy like a normal company. I think they would have come out stronger, been able to shed some union baggage that was driving them into the ground, and they wouldn’t have screwed their bond holders. Instead the UAW was given an ownerships stake, as well as the federal government getting an ownership stake. I absolutely believe the government exerted pressure on changing the corporate officers at GM. I am very much against the government taking an ownership stake in any private company, and giving the UAW a stake is like inviting the wolf into your house after he has been picking off your sheep one by one for years.

    No need to feel conflicted. The bottom dropped out of the economy and these were extraordinary, perhaps once in a century circumstances. In the midst of a worldwide credit crisis, and the beginning of the worst recession since WWII GM and Chrysler went bankrupt.

    With an ongoing credit crisis, banks were holding on to money so tightly that they wouldn’t lend to their own mothers. The expected loss of GM and Chrysler were going to destroy the already weakened and thinned out suppliers to the auto industry which would have required Ford, after performing it’s extraordinary financing tactics. to shut down also. Leaving the entire worlds auto market in foreign hands.

    With credit so hard to get and the entire US auto industry shrinking to half, no one from North America risked stepping forward to provide debtor in possession financing for GM, while facing a market with a glut of product and half as many sales. The smaller auto industry would then become 100% foreign dominated, like telephones, televisions and vacuum cleaners. The US bondholders and investors in the US auto industry would clearly have been wiped out.

    The US provided debtor in possession financing and negotiated the bankruptcy and reset union contracts with concessions, in lieu of a great depression, when the credit to do this privately was nonexistent.


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    Jan 26th, 2012 (10:41 pm)

    Texas: Not to worry fans, this is all political. This is a big election year and the Republicans want this to be tied to Obama and his saving of the GM.

    That darned Obama Admin. What were they thinking this time? Bringing GM back to life to be the largest automaker on the planet. Instead of leaving millions unemployed. Shessh, the nerve of those clowns. Yeah, the GOP can play a winning hand there for sure.


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    Jan 27th, 2012 (1:38 am)

    Bonaire:
    I’m thinking of voting for a Llama in my local congressional election.Same results, more cute.

    Agreed, I would prefer a Llama to a jackass.


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    Jan 27th, 2012 (1:40 am)

    Sure wish these congress critters would put a little bit of that energy into prosecuting the massive banskter fraud perpetrated by Wall Street on the American citizens. The GM bailout was an eyedropper-full compared to the Wall Street Ocean of taxpayer-funded bailouts. Besides, GM makes automobiles. Wall Street makes nothing real.


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    Jan 27th, 2012 (1:48 am)

    sparks:
    Sure wish these congress critters would put a little bit of that energy into the widespread banskter fraud perpetrated by Wall Street on the American citizens.GM makes automobiles.Wall Street makes nothing real.

    With the exceptions being huge bonuses and contributions to political candidates.


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    Rooster

     

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    Jan 28th, 2012 (1:02 am)

    Opens Hearings, regardless of the subject, serve only one purpose. They are a political dog an pony show. There is no news here, merely political sound bites.

    May this “issue” now rest in peace.