The Chevy Bolt EV seemed to finally be GM’s breakthrough electric car. Its numbers have maintained around 20,000 per year, with that many having sold already in 2021. Yet, clouded under a nasty recall of every Bolt built to prevent fires, owners are “unnerved” about owning one. Now, some are demanding GM buy back their Bolt and let them live in peace.
Some Bolt owners are calling their EVs “firebombs”
The Detroit Free Press talked with a number of Bolt owners to get a feel for where they stood in this whole fire recall mess. Responses weren’t pretty. Most of the respondents were worried about parking their Bolts in a garage, or even near their house. Some called them “firebombs.” Yikes!
When GM expanded their recall to every single Bolt ever made last month, that adds up to 141,000 altogether. Battery defects are resulting in random fires. GM has not released the specifics of how those fires actually started, but it is directing a finger at manufacturer LG Chem.
Now, GM says it, and LG Chem, have “hundreds of people” working every day to help determine what is causing these fires. Last Friday, a GM spokesperson to the Freep the company is “still working with LG on manufacturing process updates.” That’s a bit surprising as GM stated on August 30 that it did not have confidence the “LG Chem could make a defect-free battery.”
GM has no confidence in the Bolt battery maker LG Chem
That is why GM hasn’t initiated a schedule for taking in your Bolt. As of today, it has no confidence in LG Chem. So those with Bolts need to use them gingerly. And don’t park them in an enclosed structure.
So far, GM has found two defects that could be causing battery fires. Happening at each of its plants in South Korea and Michigan, it has found a torn anode tab and a folded separator. The issues have been discovered in all years of batteries. According to Inside EVs, older models get a complete battery pack change, while newer ones see affected modules replaced.
The owners’ reward for waiting is not having a campfire erupt inside their garage and an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. But, there are things owners need to do to make for safer Bolt ownership until the time comes when there is a solution. Following these simple steps helps lessen the chance of your Bolt turning into charcoal.
Here’s what you need to do if you’re an owner
First, only charge a Bolt to 90 percent. Don’t let the battery get below 70 miles of range before recharging. You shouldn’t charge your Bolt overnight. And don’t park it in an enclosed structure. But those requirements put added limitations on the Bolt.
By following GM’s recommendations, which you should, you are lowering your range roughly to around 140-150 miles. That’s about 100 miles less range than what you signed up for. And if you need to charge overnight to get that 140 miles of range the next morning, you’ll need to figure out a way you can charge it during the day.
None of these are insurmountable. Especially when it comes to one’s safety. But owners are hoping this discovery period doesn’t last too long.