The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a formal hearing to discuss and to investigate the potential fire risks associated with the extensively damaged Chevrolet Volts. Darrell Issa, R-CA, chairman of the committee, told members of the House that the hearing—titled “Volt Vehicle Fire: What did NHTSA know and when did they know it?”—will be held on January 25.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland claims that the White House was informed of the first crash-test related Chevy Volt fire in September, 2011. White House officials say they didn’t request that the NHTSA keep the information under wraps, but it wasn’t until Bloomberg News broke the story in November when the NHTSA decided to publicly disclose its findings.
In late November, the NHTSA opened a formal defect investigation in the Chevy Volt. In January, General Motors detailed modifications designed to prevent the Volt from catching fire following a severe impact.
Republicans have, time and again, asked General Motors and the NHTSA to answer questions regarding the delayed disclosure of possible fires in crash-tested Volts. Ali Ahmad, a spokesman for Issa, stated last Friday that the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will demand that the NHTSA turn over all records related to the safety of the Volt:
“NHTSA has stalled on responding to the committee’s inquiry for six weeks and inexplicably refused to provide any documents. The committee expects full compliance with its request and will consider compulsory methods if NHTSA does not immediately change its position.”
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has agreed to deliver his first testimony before Congress since taking over the company, and will be joined by NHTSA administrator Strickland.