General Motors has expanded the recall for tens of thousands of its Chevy Bolt EV and EUV vehicles. The concern is the batteries inside of the electric cars could catch fire.
We first heard about it in November of last year, then the recall included more models this past July. According to nbcnews.com, as of late August, 142,000 Chevy Bolts were impacted. That's every single one of these cars sold in the United States, 2017 models all the way up to the 2022 models.
Automaker General Motors says the potential problem is with defects in the lithium-ion batteries in these electric cars.
These pictures were posted to Reddit by a Chevy Bolt owner, Jesus Damian, in Sacramento, California. He said he wasn't hurt and his car was parked and unattended when it caught fire. You can see in the photos, other vehicles parked near his Bolt were also burned. Damian said the incident happened the morning of Aug. 30.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating this massive recall and has identified a few cases where the owner alleges the vehicle caught fire under the rear seat while parked and unattended.
GM says it is committed to replacing the defective batteries inside. The automaker says it will notify customers when those parts are ready. You can also request a buyback.
Here are the questions we asked GM and the automaker's responses are in bold.
1.) Will GM buy these vehicles back from consumers?
GM is reviewing customer buyback requests on a case-by-case basis. Any Bolt owner who wants to pursue a buyback should call the Chevrolet EV Concierge at 1-833-EVCHEVY. Specialists are available Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. – 12 midnight ET and Saturday and Sunday from noon – 9 p.m. ET.
2.) When will consumers get their defective batteries replaced? Has that process already started?
We are working with LG, our battery pack supplier to resolve the issue. In rare circumstances, the batteries supplied to GM for the Bolt EVs may have two manufacturing defects – a torn anode tab and fold separator – present in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire. We will only begin the appropriate recall repairs when GM and LG are confident in the safety of LG's products.
3.) What is your response to consumers who are worried/afraid their cars will catch fire?
We can understand and appreciate the dissatisfaction BOLT owners are experiencing as a result of this issue.
We apologize for this issue and both GM and LG have experts working around the clock to resolve the issue. We will notify customers as soon as replacement battery modules are available.
Until customers in the new recall population receive replacement modules, they should:
1. Set their vehicle to a 90 percent state of charge limitation using Target Charge Level mode. Instructions on how to do this are available on (chevy.com/boltevrecall). If customers are unable to successfully make these changes or do not feel comfortable making these changes, GM is asking them to visit their dealer to have these adjustments completed.
2. Charge their vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting their battery below approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) of the remaining range, where possible.
3. Park their vehicles outside immediately after charging and should not leave their vehicles charging indoors overnight.
We believe that it is important that customers take the 3 steps mentioned above to mitigate any battery safety risk while they wait for the final repair.