NHTSA to hold a lithium-ion battery safety forum next month in D.C.

NHTSA-to-hold-lithium-ion-battery-safety-forum-next-month-in-D.C.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is set to hold a technical symposium in Washington, D.C. on May 18 to discuss regulatory and safety issues surrounding lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery-powered vehicles, Bloomberg reports.

The meeting comes almost a year after General Motor’s Chevrolet Volt caught on fire following a crash-testing – causing consumers to raise questions regarding the Volt’s safety. The incident also came less than a month after an extreme testing of a battery prototype lead to an explosion at General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan that injured several people.

Advanced lithium-ion battery manufacturer A123 Systems announced last month it would recall electric batteries made for Fisker Automotive following a very public and embarrassing shut down of Fisker Karma during a Consumer Reports testing of the extended-range plug-in hybrid.

According to recent data, electric vehicles were the fastest-growing segment in the US auto industry in the first quarter of this year, up 3.4 percent from last year’s 2.6 percent.

In recognition of the rapidly growing electric vehicle segment, the NHTSA intends to hold its informal symposium in order to channel its attention on increased lithium-ion battery safety, “bring relevant stakeholders to share information on the status of safety activities related to the use of lithium-ion batteries in vehicles designed for on-road use,” as well as promote and devise industry standards in regards to EV batteries.

And while the EV market is certainly growing, experts within the automotive industry (including proponents of EVs) have theorized the perceived safety issue surrounding battery-powered electrics as one of the main reasons — along with a higher entry cost. This has caused consumers to hesitate in making the switch from conventional-powered gasoline cars to electric vehicles, further preventing growth.

The proliferation of EVs has been somewhat of a focus for the Obama administration, with the President prioritizing funding and offering a $7,500 federal tax credit for individuals purchasing plug-in cars. Additionally, the administration is also providing billions of dollars in Department of Energy grants and loans to companies, such as Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive, for battery and vehicle development.

Subsequently, it has also become somewhat of a contested political issue with many politicians like Newt Gingrich and media outlets such as Fox News highly, most of whom are critical of cars like the Chevy Volt and the President’s clean energy policy — citing the Department of the Treasury’s $527 million loan to now bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra as a prime example of government mismanagement.

[Image credit: AlexKalashnikov/Shutterstock]

Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
Cars

600-hp, $155K Polestar 1 is the alluring Volvo coupe you’ve been waiting for

Volvo's return to the coupe segment just took an interesting turn: the model will join the Polestar lineup, and it will get a 600-hp plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Polestar 1 will be built in China starting in 2019.
Cars

Aston Martin bets classic car owners will choose volts over carburetors

Aston Martin has converted one of its most sought-after classic models to run on electricity instead of gasoline. The roadster uses electric components sourced from the upcoming Rapide E sedan.
Cars

Uber is about to restart self-driving car tests but on a reduced scale

Uber is reported to be on the verge of restarting its autonomous-car test program. The company halted it in March 2018 following a fatal accident involving one of its vehicles, but its cars could be back on the road within weeks.
Cars

Bosch is developing a Rosetta Stone for autonomous and connected cars

Bosch and start-up Veniam want to create a common language that autonomous and connected cars can use. The two firms have developed a connectivity unit that transcends the national boundaries of technology.
Cars

Volkswagen may be planning a tougher challenge for its all-electric I.D. R

The Volkswagen I.D. R electric race car may head to the Nürburgring in 2019 for a lap-record attempt, according to a new report. Volkswagen will reportedly aim to set the quickest lap time ever by an electric car.
Mobile

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.
Cars

The Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is the sexiest wagon ever

Aston Martin has revealed new photos of the limited-production Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake. The Vanquish Zagato line now includes the Shooting Brake, Coupe, Volante, and Speedster, each with bespoke styling.
Cars

Nissan and Italdesign’s GT-R50 concept will become a $1.1 million reality

The Nissan GT-R50 is a customized sports car built to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and design firm Italdesign. Underneath the sleek bodywork sits a 710-horsepower engine fortified with race car components.
Cars

Ford’s new Shelby GT500 Mustang will have 3D-printed brake parts

Ford's new $45 million Advanced Manufacturing Center will focus on emerging technologies, including 3D printing. One of the staff's first jobs is to print parts for the 700-horsepower Shelby GT500 Mustang.
News

World’s fastest electric race car to display at Petersen Museum

The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak race car smashed the all-time record at the hill climb for which it was named. The all-electric VW record-holder will be on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until February 1, 2019.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.
Cars

Take a friend stargazing at 202 mph in the 2019 McLaren 720S Spider

McLaren has introduced the 2019 720S Spider. As its name implies, it's a convertible variant of the 720S coupe. The company promises the Spider retains the coupe's dynamism and agility thanks in part to the widespread use of carbon fiber.