Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chevy Volt and A Garage Fire

Remember the other day when I posted about the Chevy Volt fire that occurred a few weeks after undergoing crash impact testing? This Volt somehow exploded in flames and set other nearby cars on fire. GM officials said the fire was a result of a damaged battery not being fully drained.

So how is GM going to explain this?

After a house fire in Mooresville, NC which started in the home’s garage was traced the (sic) the near a charging station for an electric vehicle, WSOC-TV reported that Duke Energy, which installed the Siemens built charging station, has warned customers to not use similar units while the investigation into the fire proceeds. When fire investigators went through the burned out garage, they found a Chevy Volt plugged into the 240 volt station, the second garage fire reportedly involving a Volt. Since it was not the only electrical appliance plugged in that area of the garage, the charging station may not be at fault. The Iredell County Fire Marshall’s office said, “The charging station was in the known area of origin, but the cause of the fire has not been officially determined. (Source: Cars In Depth)

A fire from a damaged battery powered vehicle in the middle of a field is one thing but one started in a garage with a perfectly healthy vehicle is problematic. This is not the first instance of a fire and a plugged in Volt being in the same location. In Connecticut, a fire also started in a garage that contained a Chevy Volt that was plugged into a charging station. Apparently there was no concrete evidence the fire was started by the plugged in Volt, but the coincidence is a little troubling.

Fluffing up the perception of huge demand for the Volt is one thing, but there should be no compromises when it comes to the safety of Americans who buy into the hype of the Chevy Volt and purchase the vehicles.  All taxpayers are paying to subsidize purchases of the Volt and plug-in charging stations; it would be a shame to see that money usurped is putting people at risk. And I’m sure those burning garages leave a bit of a carbon footprint on our environment. Most importantly, any fires involving a Chevy Volt should be fully investigated by authorizes without the influence of powerful Government Motors officials. Reports should be made public and organization like Consumer Reports should be careful in recommending the vehicle to the public before the facts are in. There are many reasons to question the wisdom of attempting to electrify America’s auto fleet at the expense taxpayers, safety concerns are now high up on that list. (Source: National Legal and Policy Center)

While I won’t accuse the Obama Administration and those involved with Government Motors of trying to cover up possible safety issue, I will say there might be some neglect from the parties involved. Two fires with a plugged-in Volt in the mix does not make this an epidemic, but it certainly does point to a trend. If there is a cover-up and another fire starts under the same circumstances, then heads need to roll.

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