GM issues third recall for the Bolt, now including batteries up through the 2022 model year – in other words, GM is recalling all of them, ever made.
Simultaneously, GM is basically telling Bolt owners to hardly use them.
GM is recommending that included Bolt drivers set vehicle to a 90% state of charge limitation and avoid depleting the battery below a 70 mile range. The automaker also suggests parking the vehicle outside right after charging and not leaving the vehicle charging indoors overnight — likely due to the risk of fire. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration released its own recommendation to Bolt drivers to park their vehicles away from their homes to reduce fire risk.
With those restrictions, the Bolt now has a best case range of 140-160 miles, and cannot be parked in a garage or covered parking (some owners in multi-unit housing may not have outside options).
GM says they will start replacing all defective battery modules, made by LG.
GM also announced it will not manufacture or sell any more Bolts until the problems are fully resolved.
The Chevy Bolt is dead.
From an environmental perspective – what will happen with the tens of thousands of battery packs that are replaced? Trashed, Recycled?
Recent EV Fires
- Separately, my local news reports an EV fire yesterday. The news did not mention the make or model of the car but from a photo, it appears to have been a Jaguar EV. This vehicle uses LG batteries.
- A VW ID.3 burned up in the Netherlands a few days ago. This vehicle is also said to use LG batteries. A video of the fire may be seen here.
- Hyundai is recalling all Kona EVs to update software and/or replace defective EV battery modules. These are also LG batteries although LG says the batteries in the Kona are not the cause. Hyundai had originally announced plans to replace over 80,000 EV battery packs but like GM, has now expanded the recall to the rest of the fleet. Replacing all Bolt and Kona batteries suggests a large impact to LG battery availability. On a Chevy Bolt forum, some owners are guessing it will take a year to complete the recall and battery replacements for the Bolt line.
- EV enthusiasts point to petrol fires in ICE vehicles as being worse – however, ICE vehicles do not spontaneously combust in garages and burn down buildings.
- Related: a Lithium based cell phone battery burst into flames on board an Alaska Airlines flight Monday evening.
What do all these EV fires have in common? LG batteries.
This is an extremely serious issue for the EV industry.