Chevrolet issues second recall to prevent Bolt EV battery fires

Enlarge / For now, it’s time to unplug when you get to 90 percent state of charge. (credit: Chevrolet)

In November 2020, General Motors issued a recall of the Chevrolet Bolt EV due to a potential fire risk. Unfortunately for Bolt EV owners, that fix—a software patch—did not work, and now their cars are subject to a second recall. General Motors will replace battery modules in the affected cars, which span model years 2017-2019.

The problem started making headlines in October 2020, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation into the electric hatchback following a number of reports of vehicle fires. GM tried to fix the problem with software, at first temporarily limiting the Bolt EVs’ batteries from charging past 90 percent.

A more permanent fix was made available in May 2021. During the course of GM’s investigation together with LG Chem (which makes the lithium-ion battery cells), the companies discovered in some modules “a rare manufacturing defect” that could cause a short and thereby start a battery fire. The solution was to let diagnostic software monitor for this defect and alert the owner if detected.

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