Sunday, November 27, 2011



This morning’s (i.e., Sunday, 11/27’s) Chicago Sun-Times reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating cases of the lithium-ion batteries’ in Chevy Volts starting on fire after a severe crash involving the vehicles in which they are housed. The NHTSA says it’s too soon to determine whether there will be a recall of the vehicle, but quickly added

NHTSA continues to believe that electric vehicles have incredible potential to save consumers money at the pump, help protect the environment, create jobs and strengthen national security by reducing our dependence on oil.”


One does not have to be too much of an aficionado of conspiracy theories to believe that, for the reasons it outlined in that statement, the NHTSA will be under tremendous pressure not to recall the Volt regardless of what the agency’s investigations reveal. The Volt is indeed a job creator, an energy saver, and a genuine green machine. It is also one of the rare, but not as rare as the general public might think, instances in which an American car company substantially moved the technological goal posts. Given all that, and the Bush/Obama administration’s continuing interest in seeing the post-bailout GM survive and prosper, somebody had better keep a close eye on the NHTSA’s investigation of these battery fires. One hopes, and suspects, there is little or nothing to these battery fires, but diligence is warranted given the political pressure for the Volt to succeed.


Anonymous said...

Toyota survived the runaway acceleration scandal because of the massive deposits of trust them had built up in their "bank account." When they had to make a "withdrawal" in the form of a recall, the public quickly forgave them, albeit after taking them to the woodshed. However, GM could never get away with this because their "bank account" with the US public only has a couple dollars worth of trust in it. I would not expect to read of more battery fires because of the Administration's efforts to quash these reports. Statistically, these battery fires will be the tip of the iceberg as the beta-test Volt gets broken in. By 2015 the problems will be fixed. Whether we learn about them depends on who lives on Pennslyvania Avenue in 2013. Marty Lyons

The Pontificator said...

Great thoughts, Marty; thanks for reading and commenting.