From the Associated Press:
General Motors will buy Chevrolet Volts back from any owner who is afraid the electric cars will catch fire, the company’s CEO said Thursday.
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, CEO Dan Akerson insisted that the cars are safe, but said the company will purchase the Volts because it wants to keep customers happy. Three fires have broken out in Volts after side-impact crash tests done by the federal government.
Akerson said that if necessary, GM will recall the more than 6,000 Volts now on the road in the U.S. and repair them once the company and federal safety regulators figure out what caused the fires.
“If we find that is the solution, we will retrofit every one of them,” Akerson said. “We’ll make it right.”
The fires happened seven days to three weeks after tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And GM has said there’s no threat of fires immediately after crashes. GM also has said that no Volts involved in real-world crashes have caught fire.
Still, NHTSA has opened an investigation into the fires and has asked other companies that make electric cars for battery testing data. NHTSA said the safety testing hasn’t raised concerns about electric vehicles other than the Volt.
“The fire broke out seven days later. Not seven minutes. Not seven seconds,” Akerson said, adding that the company wants to fix the problem so people continue to have faith in Volts and other advanced technology cars. The company is notified of any Volt crash through its OnStar safety system and dispatches a team with 48 hours to drain the battery, preventing fires, he said.
“I think in the interest of General Motors, the industry, the electrification of the car, it’s best to get it right now than when you have–instead of 6,000–60,000 or 600,000 cars on the road,” he said.
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