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Club Car Inc., a manufacturer of Pathways (General Motors neighborhood electrical vehicles), has safety recall . Some Pathways contain 12-Volt relays rather than the 48-Volt units that are specified. As a result, brake lights fail after the relays burn out, as stated on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSAs) website. Late in July , A Chrysler GEM EV was blamed for a house fire in Florida. Veronica Webb, a well known supermodel, was charging her electric vehicle when the resulting fire sent flames through her air conditioning system, according to a report in the New York Post on July 30th..

Kodak recalls 75,000 digital cameras. Users of Kodaks DC Zoom Digital Camera can get a shock when charging batteries. Kodak spokesman, James Blamphin said, It (the problem) is unique to this camera only, because of the way it is constructed. It has a rugged exterior with far more metal. It was built deliberately to take the abuse of being carried around in a tool box.(10-02BD79-12)


1 Interview -Auto boom a boon for Thai battery market by Warapan Phungsuk, Reuters (Bangkok), 08/19/02

2 High Tech Materials -China Corner, Rare Earth Newsletter, 09/01/02 (Japan Metal Bulletin, 07/31/02)


Mitsubishi Motors Corp recalls 676,741 Minica and Minica Toppo minivehicles to deal with a battery box problem. The vehicles, sold between 1993 and 1998 in Japan, have a battery box where rainwater can get in and cause fluid from the battery to splash onto the brake pipe and damage it. (09-02BD78-11)



 Physician Heal Thyself

Consumer Reports, which has helped everyone by testing products, shot themselves in the foot when they gave 15,000 new subscribers a gift for signing up. This gift was a glove compartment organizer containing a battery powered flashlight that could overheat and start a fire and also included a defective tire gauge.

Although the Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, spends $20 million a year testing all kinds of products, they did not test their gift before sending it out. Both the flashlight and gauge were made in China.

The Consumers Union has learned a valuable lesson. We need to test any product that we offer as a premium in our own labs with the same rigor with which we rate the products you see in Consumer Reports, stated Chief Executive Jim Guest. The Consumers Union has been very open about their mistake and is even running an article in their magazine entitled Caveat Emptor Hits Home.

Consumer Reports learned about the problems when they received eight complaints from subscribers. Two people said they had minor burns from the flashlight; others reported its case had melted and two complained about the tire gauge accuracy.

The magazine has now tested the flashlight and gauge in their labs and found both to be defective. The Consumers Union has notified the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, has sent letters to all subscribers and also urged the importer to do a recall on the devices. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has warned those who have the flashlights to remove the battery and throw it (and the tire gouge) away. (Ed. Note: Hopefully, these batteries will not tossed in the garbage, but put in recycling bins.)(06-02BD75-9)


DaimlerChrysler AG recalls approximately 65,000 1988-89 Mercedes C-Class cars. Five complaints were received of exploding batteries, resulting in one injury from flying acid and debris. (03-02 BD72-9)

Aug 2001, p.42

One task too many

In a study carried out at Carnagie Mellon University, volunteers, dividing their time between two high level tasks, had reduced reaction times and created greater errors. The conclusion is that drivers talking on cell phones create greater road hazards than those not talking on cell phones. The author suggests that insurance companies give discounts to drivers not using cell phones or other distracting services.(03-02 BD72-12)


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