WASHINGTON — The chairman and CEO of General Motors Co. is defending the company over battery fires in Chevrolet Volt electric cars last year.
In written testimony for a congressional hearing Wednesday, Daniel F. Akerson said that testing by government regulators resulted in fires "after putting the battery through lab conditions that no driver would experience in the real world."
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the testimony Tuesday.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began studying the Volt last June after a fire broke out in one of the cars three weeks after it was crashed as part of safety testing. Two other fires occurred later related to separate safety tests, and NHTSA opened an official investigation into the vehicle on Nov. 25. The government ended its investigation last week, concluding that the Volt and other electric cars don't pose a greater fire risk than gasoline-powered cars. The agency and General Motors Co. know of no fires in real-world crashes.
But some critics have criticized the government's response, accusing NHTSA of a conflict of interest because the government still owns 26.5 percent of the company's shares. Wednesday's subcommittee hearing of the GOP-led House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is titled, "Volt Vehicle Fire: What did NHTSA Know and When Did They Know It?"
For GM's part, Akerson said, "There would be no stalling or working the bureaucratic process. We'd place our customers' sense of safety and peace of mind first, and we would act quickly."
The company advised Volt owners to return their cars to dealers for repairs that will lower the risk of battery fires. GM hopes that by adding steel to the plates protecting the batteries, it will ease worries about the car's safety. The vehicles are covered by a "customer satisfaction program" run by GM, which is similar to a safety recall but allows the carmaker to avoid the bad publicity and federal monitoring that come with a recall.
"The Volt is safe," Akerson said.
- 'Deseret News National Edition': Hobby Lobby,...
- Man seeks video of 1995 Oklahoma City...
- Fast food workers vow civil disobedience
- Obama maintains busy fundraising schedule,...
- Plan to simplify 2015 health renewals may...
- Taiwan plane crash survivor crawls out of...
- A new initiative from the Obama...
- Bills aim to bring marriage, family law into...
- Hamas calls for end to blockade of Gaza... 25
- Federal land managers criticized over... 24
- Obama fundraises for Dems; demands GOP... 21
- Feds cap fines for not buying health... 21
- Obama maintains busy fundraising... 18
- Ted Cruz demands answers on FAA flight... 16
- After government topples crosses in... 14
- Varying health premium subsidy amounts... 13