GM Offers to Buy Back Volt From Owners Worried by Battery Fires
"If someone asks, we'll snap it up in a second"Because of a recent potential problem with batteries that could catch fire in certain crash conditions (though only in the lab, not in any real-world conditions so far), GM has been trying to do all it can to maintain confidence in its halo car, the Volt plug-in hybrid. They started by offering free loaner cars to any Volt owner that wanted one because of safety concerns, and they then offered to go as far as to buy back the Volt of anybody who's worried because they are "confident the car is safe, but wants to ensure Volt customers are comfortable with their vehicle." They also reiterated that the Volt has received very good crash ratings from regulators (f.ex. an overall rating of 5/5 stars from the NHTSA). But as I wrote about previously, the perception problem might turn out to be bigger than the safety problem (the investigation is still ongoing).
Photo: Michael Graham Richard
A Facebook group of Volt owners and enthusiasts has released an open letter expressing their confidence in the electric Volt and reminding people that all cars - including gasoline and diesel ones - have some safety issues, and while it's great to discover them so that they can be mitigated or fixed, it's not something that is unique to the Volt or reason for panic (at least not with the info that has been released so far).
Here's an excerpt:
In regards to recent events, Volt owners are glad that the NHTSA, GM, and other manufacturers have now implemented protocols for electric cars in a variety of circumstances. Just as it is necessary to empty a gas tank after a major impact, it is necessary to discharge a battery pack after a major impact. This is a simple and straightforward process. Volt owners feel assured knowing that government and industry are working together to define and communicate this process for electric vehicles, just as they have done for gasoline-powered cars in years past.
Last week, Consumer Reports has written that the Volt scored the highest rating in their annual owner satisfaction survey, with 93% of buyers saying they would purchase the vehicle again. The survey was taken before the battery issue was made public, so it's unclear if it has affected perception of the car.