NYTimes: A Setback for Electric Cars

Would this be called a “Re-Volt”… or will that reserved for the next generation (if there is one) of the Volt?

The New York Times reports,

Even as they pour money into developing a range of electric vehicles, automakers have acknowledged that widespread sales of battery-powered models are years away.

Now a federal investigation into the Chevrolet Volt could make the pitch for the electric cars that much tougher.

General Motors said on Monday that it would offer free loaner cars to Volt owners worried about the safety of their vehicles, a move that underscored the fragile reputation of automobiles powered primarily by batteries and the growing consternation set off by the federal action. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday opened a formal defect investigation into the Volt after two batteries caught fire as part of testing by regulators.

“Our customers’ peace of mind is too important to us for there to be any concern or worry,” Mark L. Reuss, head of G.M.’s North American division, said in announcing the offer of loaner cars. “This technology should inspire confidence and pride, not raise any concern or doubt.”

G.M. executives defended the safety of the Volt’s lithium-ion batteries, and said the loaners were being offered as a gesture of good will — not because of safety concerns.

At least with an internal combustion engine, if a car is going to catch fire it generally does so right away. But EV spontaneous combustion would be worrisome.

Read the New York Times article.

4 thoughts on “NYTimes: A Setback for Electric Cars”

  1. If GM had to provide those loaner cars on their nickle they wouldn’t be so generous but when they have taxpayer money to pay for it; the sky is the limit.

  2. Whether or not the GM execs like it (or admit it) the customers must have peace of mind *before* the sale, or there will be no sale. Whatever the customer is concerned about, valid or not, will affect their decision to purchase. It only takes a pinprick to burst a bubble, and once burst the bubble can never be repaired.

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