Monday, November 28, 2011

Chevrolet Volt Batteries Catch Fire After Crash Tests

NHTSA launches formal probe into safety of Volt battery.

The New York Times (11/25, B6, Bunkley, Subscription Publication) reported, "Federal safety regulators on Friday said they have begun a formal defect investigation of the Chevrolet Volt because a second battery caught fire after a crash simulation." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has "been examining batteries in several plug-in cars since a June fire involving a Volt that had been heavily damaged in a government crash test." The agency said that "on Thursday, a Volt battery pack that was intentionally damaged Nov. 17 as part of that testing caught fire."

Bloomberg News (11/25, Keane, Welch) reported that the NHTSA is "is concerned that damage to the Volt's batteries as part of three tests that are explicitly designed to replicate real-world crash scenarios have resulted in fire," the agency stated on its website. Still, the NHTSA "said it doesn't know of any crashes outside of testing that have led to battery-related fires in Volts or other cars powered by lithium-ion batteries. Chevy Volt owners whose vehicles have not been in a serious crash don't need to be concerned, the agency said."

The AP (11/27) reported, "GM, which was informed of the investigation on Friday, said in a statement that the Volt 'is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash.'" These "latest fires are in addition to a battery fire in a crash-tested Volt six months ago."

GM spent $1.78 million on lobbying during third quarter. The AP (11/23) reported, "General Motors Co. spent 29 percent less lobbying the federal government in the third quarter this year than last, but it still spent $1.78 million to influence legislators and agencies on gas mileage and pollution regulations, electric vehicle infrastructure funding, distracted driving regulations and other issues." Data show that GM "spent $2.49 million on lobbying in last year's third quarter and $1.94 million in the second quarter of this year." The automaker "had a dozen lobbyists dealing with Congress, the White House and federal agencies including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Energy, Defense, Transportation and State departments; and other parts of the government."

Monday, November 21, 2011

JFK 50 Mile 2012--Race Report

One word to sum it all up PERFECTLY AWESOME! It was one of those races where everything clicked, and I felt great, and was only feeling stronger as the race went on. I owe it all to my superb support crew, who were right there every time and helped carry me through. I don’t know what you want to hear about, so I will fill you in on everything as best I can, so you can plan for next year. Training was the key, back to back long runs on weekends, and track on Weds, everything else was recovery or just slow miles with the dog.

Overall time: 7:57:46

Finished in 87th Place

Overall pace 9:22

Race Recap

Went down the day before drank a bottle of Pedialite with a tablespoon of salt in afternoon. Pre-Race meal was chicken Parmesean and a salad. Drank a 20oz bottle with one scoop Infinit and 1 table spoon of Baking soda, and 3 Siberian Ginsing tablets, Ibuprofen.

A good solid 7 hours of Sleep

Woke at 4:30—1 cup coffee. Ate oatmeal, a banana, drank another 20 oz bottle of 1 scoop Infinit with 1 tablespoon baking soda mixed in, 3 Siberian Ginseng and Ibuprofen. Arrived at H.S. at about 6am, ate power bar. About 6:40 began walk to start line (about 1 mi away); was just chatting with fellow runners, when we heard the gun go off, no warning and we were still about ¼ from the start, I still have no idea where the start line was. Was a mad scramble, According to my watch, first mile was an 8:57, I was trying to move up and get ahead of the masses before entering the Appalaichan Trail. Mile 2 was up hill on the road, most people walked, but I kept a jog to get a head of the people. Entered the woods at about mile 2.5 to the trail, in about 24:30. The next 13 miles was on the trail steep up and steep down (twice across 2 peaks). It was brutal. Hoyt would have loved it, trail running at its best. It was fairly spaced out so you had some room to maneuver, but it was still crowded, difficult to pass, but I didn’t have to worry about that because mostly I was being passed. Lots of walking up the hills in the woods, and down the steep switchbacks at about mile nine and then coming out at Weverton Cliffs at about mile 15. The pace for the miles on the trail were anywhere between 11:00 and 13:00, slow going for me as I am not a good technical trail runner, that was about the only thing ugly about the race, was my running form in the woods, portions of the trail were very steep up and down and very rocky. I got pretty beat up in the woods, rolling my ankle a couple times near the end at about mile 14, and taking lots of odd steps, stretching my legs in funny ways (tweaked hamstring). It took me about 2:55 to complete the first 15 miles and get out of the Appalaichan Trail alive. I think that’s about a 10:50 pace. Over that stretch I took 2 Gu Roctanes and ate 2 packs of Cliff Margarita Blocs (both were great throughout race). Took water and a S-Cap at mile 9.3 aid station.

Exited the Woods at Weverton Cliffs at about Mile 15 Aid Stop, happy to be alive and in tact, drank water. Met Ann and the kids there, Ate a peanut butter and fluff sandwich (tasted great), Gu Roctane and 3 more Cliff Blocs. Picked up more Gu Roctane and Cliff Blocks, stuffed them in my bike shirt and kept moving picked up bottle of Infinit I carried with me.

On to the C&O Canal:

This was awesome, started feeling real good, so happy to be off the trail and the rocks and run on flat surface, beautiful scenery, started to hit comfortable stride, hitting about an 8:35 pace. Next 27 miles were on the C&O Canal, kept pace right at about 8:20-8:30, ran a couple miles under 8:00; nutrition was basically a Gu Roctane and a package of Cliff Blocs every hour, and sipping on Infinit (2 scoops) in between. Took water at aid stations. This was where I truly felt great and one of those days where you are just floating along, I do not believe I got passed by any runner on the canal trial, and just kept passing people. At about mile 24, I started believing I could have a shot at breaking 8 hours because I was feeling great, and I felt I could run a 3:45 marathon from here, Next saw Ann and the kids at about mile 27 at the Anteitem Aid Station, drank some Coke, Gu and Blocs, S-Cap and kept on moving. Great to see everyone, felt re-energized and kept on trucking down the canal path feeling great. About mile 33, got a little stomach pains and stopped in the port-o-potty for a couple minutes at mile 35, jumped out felt better and kept moving to mile 38 and the Taylors Landing Aid station, where Ann and the kids were there smiling again, Jen and Ryan were there, all a welcome sight after some long miles on the canal, according to the watch, still hitting about 8:20 miles at this point. Drank some coke, Gu, Cliff Blocs, and grabbed another Infinit bottle, everyone ran with me a little while which was great. Four more miles on the Canal Path, exited the canal path at about mile 42, was nice to have a change of scenery, walked up a steep hill off the path and up the road (first and last time I walked since the trail)Got up that hill and had about 7 miles to go to the finish. The count down begins, and this is the point were I started really believing I could break the 8 hour mark, if I could keep all my miles under 9:00. I did averaging 8:35 over the last 7 miles. Saw Jen and Ryan at mile 46, great to get a pick up and encouragement. I passed a few runners, and was also passed by three runners, felt strong and rolling along, legs and stomach felt good, but ready to get to the finish. I think I took another Gu at about mile 45, ate a couple Blocs and sipped on Infinit. Ann met me about ¾ mile from the finish and cheered me in, helping push me up the last hill. Great to see all the cheering faces at the finish, ran the last mile in 8:09 and felt incredibly, indescribably AWESOME, well worth it! Any other details, I will fill you in and I expect to see you at the start of the 50th Annual JFK 50 in 2012! Post-Race beverage of choice: Stella Artois

Thursday, November 10, 2011

GM Recalling 38,000 Pontiac G8s to Reprogram Air-Bag Module

General Motors Co. is recalling 38,400 Pontiac G8 models to reprogram the front-passenger air-bag module.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Saturday that the air-bag modules for the 2008 and 2009 models might not comply with federal standards for head injury protection.

No complaints, crashes or injuries have been reported related to the issue, GM said.
But the company found that in case of a crash, the air-bag sensor could be delayed and put some passengers at increased risk for a head injury. GM said crash tests found that the risk was limited but slightly higher for small women sitting in the front passenger seat.
GM dealers will reprogram the sensing and diagnostic module at no charge.
The G8 was manufactured in Australia and imported to the United States

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Toyota Steering Defects Recall

Toyota recalls 550,000 cars for steering issue

Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it is recalling about 550,000 vehicles worldwide _ mostly in the United States _ for problems that could make it harder to steer.  Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it is recalling about 550,000 vehicles worldwide — mostly in the United States — for problems that could make it harder to steer.
The recall affects 447,000 vehicles in North America, as well as 38,000 in Japan and another 25,000 in Australia and New Zealand, said Toyota spokesman Dion Corbett. In Europe some 14,000 vehicles are being recalled along with 10,000 in the Middle East and 14,000 in Asia outside Japan.
Toyota has received a total of 79 reports about the defect dating back to 2007, said Corbett. There have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the problems, he said.
Toyota's reputation has taken a hit over the last two years due to a string of huge recalls that have ballooned to 14 million vehicles over that time, including millions recalled last year for acceleration problems. It faces damage lawsuits and lingering doubts in the U.S. about whether it had been transparent enough about the recall woes.
Japan's largest automaker has been trying to communicate better with customers and empower regional operations outside Japan to make safety decisions.
The news comes a day after Toyota said its July-September profit slid 18.5 percent to 80.4 billion yen ($1 billion) on plunging sales caused by parts shortages from the tsunami disaster in northeastern Japan.
It now faces such uncertainties from flooding in Thailand, where it has many suppliers and three assembly plants, that it declined to release an earnings forecast for the full year through March.
The latest recall is due to the possibility that the outer ring of the engine's crankshaft pulley may become misaligned with the inner ring, causing noise or a warning signal to light up, the company's U.S. sales unit said in a press release. If the problem isn't corrected, the belt for the power steering pump may become detached from the pulley, making it suddenly more difficult to turn the steering wheel.
In the United States, the automaker is recalling 283,200 Toyota brand cars, including the 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Solara, the 2004 Avalon and the 2006 Highlander HV. Its recall of 137,000 Lexus vehicles includes the 2004 and 2005 ES330 and RX330 and 2006 RX400h.
Those affected elsewhere include certain models of the Alphard, Highlander, Highlander hybrid and some Lexus models, Corbett said.
In the U.S., Toyota will mail owners a notification to make an appointment with an authorized dealer to have their car inspected once replacement parts have been produced in sufficient quantities.
If needed, parts will be replaced for no charge, the company's American sales unit said. Notifications will be mailed starting in January.
In the meantime, if an abnormal noise is heard coming from the engine compartment, the owner is asked to make an appointment with any Toyota or Lexus dealer to have the vehicle inspected for this condition, the release said.