General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has agreed to testify next week in front of a U.S. House panel related to the investigation of safety regulators regarding the Chevrolet Volt fire risks, GM spokesperson Greg Martin told The Detroit News. This will be his first testimony on Capitol Hill since he became CEO in September 2010.
Headed by U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is also expected to hear from David Strickland, who is the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The hearing is set for January 25, 2012, and is entitled "Volt Vehicle Fire: What did NHTSA know and when did they know it?" NHTSA opened an investigation in November into the fire risk of the Volt. In June, three weeks after an NHTSA crash test, one battery pack caught fire. Two more units caught fire in November, which are at least a few days after NHTSA crash tests.
This month, GM offered a voluntary modification aimed at preventing the battery pack of the Chevrolet Volt from catching fire after a severe crash -- a huge leap toward sidestepping a possible damage to the image of the halo vehicle.
GM is requesting its 8,000 Volt clients to bring the plug-in hybrid to their Chevy dealership in order to have the steel surrounding the battery pack reinforce, preventing it from being punctured during a crash. It also will add a sensor to the battery pack so that coolant leaks are monitored.