Curioser and Curioser

volt_unsafe So, here is a new revelation about the Chevy Volt battery fires:

The company [GM] is notified of any crashes through its OnStar safety system, and it dispatches a team to drain the batteries within 48 hours. GM said NHTSA didn’t drain the battery packs of energy after the tests, but the automaker acknowledged that it hadn’t told the agency of its procedures back in June when the first fire occurred.

Implications:

1) GM almost certainly knew these fires would be happening. Otherwise, why would the Drain Teams exist?

2) The Volt has never been a serious proposition. Think about it: How realistic is it to imagine the smooth operation of Drain Teams, if the Volt had actually been a genuine product, rather than mere haloware supporting the continued sales of Silverado pickups? If there were a million Volts out there, rather than 6,000, how expensive would it be for GM to be hiring and managing the hundreds of requisite Drain Teams?

3) There has almost certainly been collusion between GM and the NHTSA to delay release of the news of this issue. The NHTSA’s fire happened in June. Its investigation was acknowledged in late November. What possible reason could explain that gap, other than the obvious one — that the NHTSA sees its mission as assisting car capitalists?

Will any of this corruption have an effect on public policy? Not a chance. Cars are the lifeblood of “our” economy, after all.

Where There’s Smoke…

chevy-volt-garage-fire Remember our recent report about a Chevy Volt catching fire three weeks after a crash test? Turns out it wasn’t a fluke. According to Automotive News:

In lab tests completed last week by U.S. safety regulators, a second Volt [battery] pack began to smoke and throw off sparks while a third battery pack caught fire a week after a simulated crash.

GM may redesign the battery for its Chevrolet Volt to address issues raised after federal officials opened a safety probe into the plug-in electric [sic] car, CEO Dan Akerson said today.

GM said on Monday it would also offer loaner vehicles to about 5,500 Volt owners as it works with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on ways to reduce the risk of battery fires breaking out days after crashes involving the car.

How delightful! After shelling out $40,000+ for the car and another few thousand for the home charging station, you get to enjoy a loaner GM.

Such is reality in the Rube Goldberg world of late Oil Age automobiles.