Planet Gore

Driving Dangerously

Henry Payne has laid out numerous reasons Governor Granholm might want to reconsider her “green” vision for Michigan. Here’s another: some disturbing news that may concern her battery-powered cars of the future:

Several news sources are reporting that an Arkansas doctor who specializes in Asthma and is the Chairman of the Arkansas Medical Board has been life-flighted to a hospital in critical condition after his Lexus RX 400h hybrid SUV exploded.

 

Initially a bomb squad was called in to investigate, but was sent home after no bomb was found. At this point speculation revolves around a malfunction with the car itself.

As has been pointed out here before, while more and more of these alternative vehiclesemergency responders have a new beast to deal with. High voltage mixed with explosive liquids certainly provides the setting for potentially horrifying situations. I’m not saying that’s what’s at play here, as that will take an investigation to sort out. come on the scene,

In the meantime, you can expect that the internet will be abuzz with rampant speculation. For sure, some will take the opportunity to say “See, told you so, you environmentalists are pushing new technology through before it is safe enough for public consumption,” and some will say “It’s only one car among hundreds of thousands of hybrids that have worked just fine. That’s a pretty good track record.”

All I can say is I’m not going to make any judgment until all facts are in. However, if this does turn out to be a problem related to the hybrid system itself, not only will Toyota/Lexus’ reputation take a major beating, you can bet that shockwaves will ripple through the entire conventional hybrid and plug-in hybrid industry.

At a time when the likes of GM are hanging their future on the plug-in hybrid, this would be a major development indeed.

Stay tuned, folks.
[Hat tip to reader Matt Szekely.]

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