Politics Of Safety: the Chevy Volt

Issa and the Republicans have been critical of President Obama’s push to get one million new electric cars on the road by 2015

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Who knew what, when?

It is almost always at the center of a cngressional hearing. Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, of Vista, has demanded answers and documents about the safety of batteries inside the Chevrolet Volt, which is an electric car made by General Motors.

Issa letter to GM CEO on Saftey of Volt | Issa Letter to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Rep. Issa wants to know why the federal agency in charge of car safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, waited five months to tell the public the Volt’s battery caught on fire after a side impact test.

The battery didn’t catch on fire right away as gasoline filled cars might. The battery caught on fire three weeks after the impact. It was so hot it reportedly caused the cars parked around it at the test facility to ignite.

That test was done in May. The agency didn’t reveal the fire and announce an investigation until November after two more cars were tested and their batteries experienced delayed fires.

Chevy has approximately 6,000 Volts on the road. For a car with such a small market share, it sure does carry a lot of political weight.

Congressman Issa complained months ago while on the talk show circuit about the Volt and the Obama Administration’s push for more green power.

It’s “a really bad car,” said Issa of the Volt. “This is a car that gets less than 30 miles a gallon and goes 25 miles before you have to charge it.”

Issa and the Republicans have been critical of President Obama’s push to get 1 million new electric cars on the road by 2015. President Obama even helped roll out the Volt at a GM plant for a photo opportunity.

While the Democrats and Republicans argue over the Volt this election year, there is only question consumers want answered: Is the car safe?

GM and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood say the Volt is safe.

General Motors has offered to buy back Volts from worried consumers or provide a loaner car until the investigation is completed.

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