GM Offers Buyback for Chevy Volt Owners Fearful of Battery Fires

By:  Brian Koenig
12/05/2011
       
GM Offers Buyback for Chevy Volt Owners Fearful of Battery Fires

General Motors will buy Chevrolet Volts back from any owner who worries that their plug-in electric car will catch fire, the company’s CEO told the Associated Press in an interview Thursday. CEO Dan Akerson maintained that the vehicles are safe, but said GM is offering the buyback to ensure customer loyalty. The new offer expands a company offer made Monday to grant loaner cars to any owners fearful of their Volts catching fire.

During a government investigation into the safety of Chevy’s electric cars, three fires broke out days after side-impact crash tests were administered. GM officials, however, insisted that there is no threat of fires immediately following car crashes, as the fires occurred seven days to three weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performed the tests.

The crash tests punctured the cases of the batteries, and leaking battery coolant could have spurred the delayed ignition in the regulators’ undrained Volt batteries, Chevy spokesman Rob Peterson suggested. But Chevy is not planning a battry storage redesign at the moment. Considering that the fires did not occur until days later, some GM officials alleged that the crashed Volts were not stored properly. Still, the NHTSA has launched a safety probe into the battery malfunctions and has requested that other electric car manufacturers submit battery testing data as well.
 

General Motors will buy Chevrolet Volts back from any owner who worries that their plug-in electric car will catch fire, the company’s CEO told the Associated Press in an interview Thursday. CEO Dan Akerson maintained that the vehicles are safe, but said GM is offering the buyback to ensure customer loyalty. The new offer expands a company offer made Monday to grant loaner cars to any owners fearful of their Volts catching fire.

During a government investigation into the safety of Chevy’s electric cars, three fires broke out days after side-impact crash tests were administered. GM officials, however, insisted that there is no threat of fires immediately following car crashes, as the fires occurred seven days to three weeks after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performed the tests.

The crash tests punctured the cases of the batteries, and leaking battery coolant could have spurred the delayed ignition in the regulators’ undrained Volt batteries, Chevy spokesman Rob Peterson suggested. But Chevy is not planning a battry storage redesign at the moment. Considering that the fires did not occur until days later, some GM officials alleged that the crashed Volts were not stored properly. Still, the NHTSA has launched a safety probe into the battery malfunctions and has requested that other electric car manufacturers submit battery testing data as well.

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Photo of Chevy Volt being charged: AP Images

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