Ex-GM Exec Counters 'Loony Right' Attacks on Volt

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Outspoken former GM ( GM) executive Bob Lutz is speaking out about the Republican right wing's demonization of the Volt.

"The loony right has its jaws sunk into the Volt with all the stupid determination of a terrier who has locked his teeth into the mailman's butt," Lutz wrote Monday, in his blog at Forbes.com. .

Lutz, the retired former GM vice chairman, decried Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's recent assertion that "several (Volts) have caught fire," and said "many portions of the American public" believe the same thing, even though it is not true.

"Here we go once more," Lutz wrote. "The Chevrolet Volt is again cast in its familiar role as the poster child of President Obama's socialist meddling in the free automotive market."

Perhaps O'Reilly's posturing is a prelude to the 2012 presidential campaign, Lutz suggested, asking, "Will we see the Republican presidential campaign centered on the Volt, with catchy slogans like 'Vote Republican! Kill the Volt before it kills you!'?

"The current insanity is of such magnitude that it wouldn't surprise me," he said.

In fact, Lutz said, "No Volt in service has ever shown as much as a wisp of smoke. Not in normal service, and not in crashes." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in November that it was conducting a safety investigation because a crash test led, three weeks later, to a battery fire. That investigation was halted after the automaker made modifications in the frame protecting the battery.

Lutz noted that "the three Volt battery fires all occurred under extremely destructive experimental conditions: Two of the fires were induced in batteries not mounted in cars."

The testing results were "deliberately misinterpreted," said Lutz, who identified himself as the executive who conceived the idea of the Volt and who was its "undeniable champion," but also as "a conservative and vocal global warming skeptic."

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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