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Feds Send Message Clearing Chevy's Volt

Friday, 20 Jan 2012 | 7:19 PM ET
Chevy Volt
Source: chevrolet.com
Chevy Volt

When the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officially closed its investigation into whether the Chevy Volt batteries are safe, it did something highly unusual.

NHTSA issued a statement essentially saying, "case closed."

Typically, when NHTSA closes an investigation, there is no public statement. Not this time.

This time, NHTSA issued a very public release, explaining it closed the Volt case, finding no safety defect.

Then the federal government went a step further.

In its release, NHTSA said the Chevy Volt and other electric vehicles pose no greater risk of catching on fire than gasoline-powered cars.

It was a very public and strong statement about the safety of electric vehicles.

The conspiracy theorists will immediately say the feds gave the Volt a big stamp of approval because Uncle Sam still owns 25 percent of the stock of Chevrolet's parent, General Motors .

And there's no doubt this will come up when the House Oversight Committee holds a hearing on the Volt investigation next Wednesday.

One thing is clear: NHTSA sent a strong message Friday about electric cars, their technology, and the safety of those vehicles.

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___________________________ Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.comand Follow me on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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