Capitol Hill Chevy Volt Hearing: What About All the Other Fires?

I attended Wednesday’s 8:00am (8am?!?) House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing entitled:

Volt Vehicle Fire: What Did NHTSA Know And When Did They Know It?

The witnesses were killer:

National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Barack Obama-appointee Administrator David Strickland.

And General Motors (GM), Barack Obama-appointee CEO Dan Akerson.

The scope of the hearing was a bit too narrow – leaving out some fairly important attending facts. Like, say, the (at least) five other Chevy Volt fires that have occurred besides the one being discussed.

This hearing was all about a single June Volt blaze. The battery burst into flames about three weeks after a test crash at and by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

A fire about which Obama’s NHTSA did tell the Obama White House.

But a fire about which neither Obama’s NHTSA, the Obama Administration nor Obama’s GM told the American people for nearly six months – and then did so only when forced by a looming Bloomberg news story.


The White House had no role in the decision to delay disclosure of a fire that broke out in a crash-tested Chevrolet Volt, the Obama administration told Congress on Friday.

Of COURSE not.


Joan Claybrook, a former administrator at NHTSA believes part of the reason for the delay was the “fragility of Volt sales.” Yet she also believes that “NHTSA could have put out a consumer alert, not to tell them [customers] for six months makes no sense to me.”

Obama is running for reelection in great part on the non-success “success” of the $85 billion auto industry bailout.

On which he once promised we’d make money. Then had to begrudgingly up the (admitted to) loss from $14.3 billion to $23.6 billion.

And We the Taxpayers still own 500 million shares of GM stockwhich is tanking. So that loss number still has growth prospects.

That auto industry bailout “success.”

Obama mentioned GM prominently in Tuesday night’s campaign – I mean State of the Union – speech:

America: Built to (Be) Last

And had as one of his bio-props – I mean guests – a GM plant manager.

The takeaway from all of this?

For Obama, notifying Americans of their potential immolation-by-Volt is of less import than his keeping his gig past November.


And there’s tremendous immolation potential.

The one NHTSA Volt fire discussed at the hearing was not the only NHTSA Volt fire that occurred. In November, there were two others.

After conducting three different tests two weeks ago, the NHTSA found that the Volt’s battery either caught fire or began to smoke in two out of the three.

So that’s three Volt fires – all in the hands of the Obama Administration, all after crashes.

But Obama’s GM now says they’ve fixed the problem – and the Obama Administration has (shocker) given GM the good-to-go.

So all is well, right?

Ummm, no. There were in fact three other, private-owner Volt fires. None of which involved Volts that were in crashes.


There was the Volt that in April burst into flames – twice. These were the fires that led to Obama’s NHTSA beginning its investigation.

And then in November another Volt leapt into flames. While Obama’s NHTSA was still investigating – but after the NHTSA-Obama Administration-GM cover-up had come to light (get it?).

The home that garaged this particular immolated Volt gets its power from Duke Energy – which after the fire felt compelled to issue a warning:

Duke Energy officials want anyone who has a (Volt) charging station to stop using it until they know the devices are safe.

So the charging station is at least suspect. (So too the charging station cable?)

We still have no idea what caused these fires. The only thing we do know is that they were not caused by crashes – because these cars were never in crashes.

So why did Obama’s NHTSA, the Obama Administration and Obama’s GM singularly focus on (but one of three) post-crash Volt fires?

When none of these three privately-owned combustible Volts had been in accidents?

We – still – don’t know. Anything.

But don’t worry: The Obama Administration has declared that the Obama-owned GM Chevy Volt is perfectly safe – just in time for Obama’s reelection campaign.

And GM’s new Volt ad campaign, which is pretty much entitled:

If You Don’t Like the Volt, You Don’t Like America

Don’t you feel safer?


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