General Motors has decided to recall the Chevrolet Bolt EV from 2017 to 2019. The automaker is working on the issue with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The government agency had opened a probe in the matter in the month of October. Five Bolt EV cars have caught fire till now, although there have been no casualties yet. Two incidents reported smoke inhalation, however. One of the incidents also caused a house to ignite, because the car was parked inside the garage.
Chevrolet Recalls Bolt Over Fire Issues
This recall consists of 68,667 vehicles worldwide, most of which are located in the United States. Every car that caught fire had two things in common. All of them contained cells produced by LG Chem at the same factory in South Korea. Secondly, all of them were very close to being fully charged. However, it is unknown whether these cars were plugged in at the time they caught fire.
Chevrolet Executive Chief Engineer Jeese Ortega said that the company hasn’t managed to pinpoint the issue yet. However, both owners and dealers can take immediate action. Dealers will be “re-flashing” the vehicle’s BMS (battery management system) code to allow vehicles to charge up to just 90%. This can also be done by customers of 2017-18 Bolt, by selecting the “hilltop reserve” feature. The 2019 Bolt customers can set the charging limit manually. All owners have to park their vehicles outside garages and carports.
It is still unclear as to how many of the recalled vehicles are actually at risk. In 2019, GM had started using LG Chem cells produced in Michigan. Those cars, along with the 2020 variants do not have the problem.
The company has set up a separate webpage for information about the recall. It contains a demonstrating video for the action that owners can take. It also has a tool to look up your VIN number to see if the vehicle is affected. The video below explains what owners can do:
NHTSA stated in their report that the fire damage appeared to be concentrated in the EV battery compartment. This led to penetration into the passenger compartment from under the rear seat. As of now, the root cause is unknown. But the analysis seems to point towards high temperature in the battery pack due to overcharging.
General Motors recalling each and every Chevy Bolt EV seems quite an interesting move. Cars produced over a span of three years are being affected by this issue, which seems to be a design problem. Of course, they seem to have sorted this out, considering that the cars post 2019 are not affected. Further reports will help to kink out the details.