Auto News

AutoGuide News Blog


The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Dec 09 2011, 12:01 AM

 

X11CH_VT211

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is flatly denying any wrongdoing around the time it took to release data suggesting the Chevrolet Volt might catch fire.

Earlier this week reports surfaced that Volts suffering severe crashes might be at risk of catching fire. GM hasn’t released an official statement explaining the phenomenon, but information leaked from unnamed sources suggesting it might be the liquid cooling system for the car’s lithium ion battery. The fires weren’t even the most disturbing part of the story. It seems the NHTSA actually knew of the defect last May.

By Wednesday U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican congressman from California along with two other U.S. house members aimed accusations at the NHTSA, saying in a letter that they “deliberately suppressed public knowledge of the safety risk posed by the Chevrolet Volt’s lithium-ion battery system.”

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood responded today saying the accusations were “absolutely not true.”

“We have opened an investigation into battery-related fires that may occur some time after a severe crash,” LaHood said. “Chevy Volt owners can be confident that their cars are safe to drive.”

For now, Chevrolet is doing damage control with the car they otherwise used as a PR poster child. So far they have offered to buy back Volts from any owners who feel unsafe and offered loaner cars to those who simply want the defect fixed.

It won’t be clear what that fix will include until later in the week when GM expects its engineers to arrive at a solution, but speculation thus far suggests it may include a strengthened housing around the battery as well as laminating the battery itself and measures to protect against coolant leaking after a crash.

Other cars like the Nissan Leaf use air in place of liquid cooling systems, meaning they aren’t subject to the same potential hazard.

“As soon as we have additional information on our testing and on our investigation, we’ll disclose it,” LaHood said.

[Source: Automotive News]

 |  May 31 2010, 12:49 PM

Drivers who text have just met their worst enemy – the United Nations. In an attempt to end distracted driving, the United Nations has launched a new campaign aimed to stop texting while driving.

This new program, named “Global Call to Action on Ending Distracted Driving,” has plenty of supporters in high places, including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  The program, which is available in all languages, focuses on driving safety and putting down the cell phone. There’s also a Facebook page you can join where you can support the cause.

Accidents caused by distracted driving are on the rise – in fact, between 80-90 percent of accidents are caused by driver behavior like distracted driving. Other interesting stats from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that 1.2 million people die on the roads each year and another 20-50 million are injured. WHO also projects that by 2030 crash fatalities will become the 5th leading cause of death, surpassing HIV/AIDS, cancer, violence, and diabetes. There are currently 600 million cars on the road and 4.6 billion cell phone subscriptions.

[Source: Consumer Reports]