House Republicans unleashed a barrage of criticism Wednesday during a House hearing on Chevrolet’s Volt electric car, after the head of the federal auto safety agency insisted that the vehicles are not dangerous. "The Chevrolet Volt is safe to drive and it has been safe to drive the whole time," David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), told a congressional panel. "Not only would I drive it, I would [take] my wife, my mother and my baby sister along for the ride."
The controversy was ignited by a government investigation into the safety of the Volt’s batteries, when three fires broke out in Volt battery packs days after side-impact crash tests were administered. As previously reported by The New American, Chevy and government officials sparred over allegations that the Volt’s batteries are a fire hazard and that they may need modifications:
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 battery 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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