GM Announces Chevrolet Bolt EV Fix to Address Fire Hazard

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General Motors has announced a combined hardware and software solution to the Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV battery problem that has led to a series of recall notices regarding fire hazards. It lifted the previous directive to park 50 feet from other cars and structures, instead saying that customers following GM’s charging instructions can park wherever they choose.

A spokesperson for LG, the battery supplier, told CR: “GM and LG have identified the presence of two rare simultaneous faults, found in the same battery cell, made during the module’s manufacturing process. GM explained that the cause is a torn anode tab and a bent separator in the battery modules.

LG spokeswoman said this was the main cause of battery fires in some Chevy Bolt electric vehicles. She also says that this particular issue is unrelated to the one reported with the Hyundai Kona EV and that the flaws were corrected during manufacture. After a hiatus, LG resumed battery production and increased its manufacturing capacity to provide cells to be used as a replacement for the booster.

General Motors has announced that LG will reimburse the automaker for the costs and expenses associated with recalling the Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs due to manufacturing defects in the battery modules, predicting that the supplier will pay $ 1.9 billion of the $ 2 billion. dollars.

GM has told CR that it will replace all modules in the 2017-2019 Bolt EVs and replace the defective modules in the 2020-2022 Bolt EV / EUVs. The battery is made up of many individual components including the housing, electronics and wiring which are not faulty and therefore do not need to be replaced. These new modules will come with an eight-year, 100,000-mile limited warranty.

GM says it will prioritize customers who have higher risk bolts for the problem.

In addition, the company will distribute a new diagnostic software package “designed to detect specific anomalies that may indicate a damaged battery in Bolt EV and EUVs by monitoring battery performance and alerting customers to any anomalies.”

After all diagnostic processes have been completed, the software will allow customers to safely charge vehicles 100%, down from 90% currently, a temporary restriction recommended to reduce the risk of fire. This software will need to be installed by a dealer and will be available in approximately 60 days.

Until then, GM advises:
• Set the vehicle to a 90 percent state-of-charge limitation using the Target Charge Level mode. Instructions on how to do this are available at Chevrolet Recall Page. If customers are unable to make these changes successfully or feel uncomfortable making these changes, GM directs them to go to their dealership to have these adjustments made.

• Charge the vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting the battery below approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) of remaining range, if possible.

• Continue to park vehicles outdoors immediately after charging and do not leave charged vehicles indoors overnight.

This action expanded a previous Chevrolet Bolt recall to include all Bolts from model years 2017 through 2022 due to the risk of battery fire. This recall now also includes the new Bolt EUV, more than doubling the number of cars involved to around 110,000.

Prior to the announcement of this recall, Consumer Reports purchased a 2022 Bolt EUV for our test program and following the recall, we are following all of GM’s recommendations regarding charging and parking.


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