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General Motors has been dealing with problems with its popular electric vehicle, the Chevy Bolt, for some time. The Chevrolet bolt has been spontaneously catching on fire, and for awhile, no one was entirely sure why. Attempts to repair the Bolt have failed, as some recalled and repaired Bolts still caught fire. GM recently expanded their recall of the Chevy Bolt to include every Bolt ever made. They say that battery maker LG is at fault. Now GM is canceling the Bolt. 

A dark gray 2021 Chevy Bolt against a white background.
2021 Chevy Bolt | Chevrolet

What’s wrong with the Chevy Bolt?

The problem with the Chevrolet Bolt stems from its battery. An investigation by GM showed that there were defects in the LG batteries – some had a “torn anode tab and folded separator.” When those two issues happen in the same battery, the risk of a fire increases. 

Most concerning about this is that neither LG nor GM know why this is happening. GM is investigating the issues, and is asking LG to provide it with data while it analyzes the situation. LG is cooperating, as both companies are eager to sort out this issue quickly and with little negative impact. However, the fact that GM is putting a hold on Bolt production shows that it isn’t likely to resolve too quickly. 

General motors says they will wait for LG to provide new, defect-free batteries

As one might imagine, General Motors is not too happy with LG right now. GM is pretty upset about the battery problems, as one might imagine. In fact, they’re pursuing payment from LG in the estimated amount of $1 billion for losses related to the faulty batteries. With the Bolt currently off the market, GM is left with no fully electric cars. 

Jalopnik notes that although GM is saying they’re still on board with LG, they’re also hoisting the bulk of the blame onto them. GM spokesman Dan Flores says, “If we took the battery stock that’s in the field right now or at a warehouse, we’re not confident that it is defect-free. Because we are not confident that LG has the capability to build defect-free products, we’ve put the repairs on hold and we are not building new Bolts. We’re not going to start recall repairs or start building new Bolts until we’re confident LG will build defect-free products.”

General Motors has been having a problem with the Chevy Bolt batteries for awhile

Previously GM had recalled all 2017-2019 Bolts due to a fire risk. There had been reports of Chevrolet Bolts spontaneously combusting and catching on fire. In fact, GM’s former recall included a warning that Bolt owners shouldn’t park their vehicles near a structure, due to the unanticipated fires that were occurring – even if the Bolt had already been serviced.
If you have a Chevy Bolt, it’s a good idea to follow the guidelines set forth by GM and the NHTSA. Since all Bolts are currently recalled, you can go to the GM website or the NHTSA website to find further information. Until there is a satisfactory resolution to this problem, Bolt owners should avoid parking their Bolt in a garage or near a structure. They also shouldn’t charge overnight. Additionally, Bolt owners should “Set their vehicle to the 90% state of charge limitation using Hilltop Reserve mode (2017 and 2018 model years) or Target Charge Level mode (2019-2022 model years). If owners are unable to set their vehicles to the 90% state of charge limitation mode, or if they feel uncomfortable making the change, GM is asking owners to visit a local dealer immediately to have the change made.”


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