GM recalls Bolt EV cars after more battery fires were reported, this time in cars allegedly repaired

Posted in Recalls

Chevy Bolt Fire Recall Issued After Repairs Failed
GM recalls Bolt EV cars after more battery fires were reported, this time in cars allegedly repaired

— A Chevy Bolt fire recall has been issued for the second time after more cars caught fire from the batteries. General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has once again warned Bolt owners to park outside.

This latest Bolt recall was announced after a 2019 Bolt belonging to Vermont state Rep. Tim Briglin caught fire, a car that had been repaired by GM in June.

The other Chevy Bolt fire was in New Jersey, but the burned car and the tow truck hauling the Bolt were stolen. Authorities have been unable to find the Bolt and General Motors hasn't had a chance to perform an inspection.

The original Chevrolet Bolt fire recall was issued in November 2020 for about 68,700 cars worldwide, with about 51,000 Bolts recalled in the U.S. and nearly 8,000 in Canada. The 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolts are equipped with high-voltage lithium-ion batteries manufactured by LG Chem of Korea.

This new fire recall includes nearly 51,000 Chevy Bolts in the U.S. and 68,000 globally and includes all the cars allegedly repaired under the previous recall. NHTSA says at least one fire has occurred in a car that had received the interim recall and two Bolt fires have occurred in Bolts that had received the final recall repairs.

The interim Bolt recall had GM dealers updating software so the batteries couldn't be charged to 100% capacity, instead limiting the capacity to 90%. Owners of 2017-2018 Chevy Bolts were also advised to use the "Hill Top Reserve" option, and 2019 Bolt owners were told to change the settings to "Target Charge Level" at 90%.

But the primary warning was to park the cars outside and away from anything that could burn while GM's engineers could figure out what was causing the fires.

In April 2021, GM announced the allegedly final recall remedy to prevent the Bolts from burning.

The final repair had GM dealers using special diagnostic tools to find problems and replace battery module assemblies if needed. Dealers were also told to install software that was supposed to detect problems related to the batteries, allegedly before those problems could occur.

Apparently the interim repair and final repair didn't do the job, resulting in another Chevrolet Bolt recall and a reissue of some of the same interim remedies.

Chevy Bolt Fire Recall: Park Outside

Owners of 2017-2019 Chevy Bolt EVs should still park outside and away from flammable objects, in addition to setting their cars to the 90% charge. That can be done by using the Hilltop Reserve mode for 2017-2018 Bolts and Target Charge Level mode for 2019 Chevrolet Bolts.

Car owners should let GM dealers make the changes if owners aren't comfortable making the necessary changes.

Chevy Bolt EV customers should also recharge the batteries after each use and should not run down the batteries below a 70-mile range.

The new (an allegedly final) recall remedy will be to replace the battery module.

NHTSA says it continues to investigate the Chevy Bolt fires as it has done since October 2020.


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