When transitioning from gas-powered cars to EVs, building vehicles the average consumer can afford is vital. The Chevy Bolt is General Motors’ attempt to fill that need. But unfortunately for Chevrolet, the Bolt experienced serious battery issues that led to a massive recall and production stoppage last year. But the good news is that GM will soon restart Chevy Bolt production.
A look at the Chevy Bolt’s battery problem
The Chevy Bolt, which starts at around $30,000, is supposed to be an EV that many people can afford, so, naturally, Chevrolet churned out a lot of Bolt units over the years. Unfortunately, there seemed to have been an issue with the Bolt’s battery packs. Those batteries, made by LG, had some manufacturing issues. The problems caused the Bolt to spontaneously combust, even when parked.
At first, GM suspected a single factory produced the faulty batteries. But it turns out multiple plants built the defective batteries. GM originally recalled only 2017 to 2019 Bolt models, but eventually, the auto giant recalled every Bolt it had ever made. That totaled about 140,000 vehicles.
According to ABC News, though this defect seems to affect every Bolt ever made, it was generally rare for the EV to burst into flames. About 13 Bolt models are known to have burst into flames due to this issue, and fortunately, the problem has injured only a few people. One person sustained injuries due to smoke inhalation from a burning Bolt.
GM prepares to restart Chevy Bolt production
Since the core of the problem lies within the batteries, the recall has a simple goal of replacing the faulty batteries with new ones that won’t have the problem. However, it took a while for GM and LG to figure out what was wrong with the batteries, how to fix the issue, and finally for LG to build enough replacement batteries for all 140,000 Bolts. Unsurprisingly, while that was happening, GM stopped making the Bolt.
But according to ABC News, General Motors aims to restart production on the Bolt in early April. The main reason it’s taken so long for GM to restart production is that the automaker prioritized the new batteries for the recalled Bolt models.
Now, LG is producing enough new batteries to replace the recalled ones and provide batteries for brand-new Bolt models. It will mark the end of a months-long production pause.
It was a long production pause
The eight-month production stoppage likely cost GM a pretty penny and its reputation. After all, GM is investing $35 billion in EVs, and the issues with the Bolt is a significant setback for the Detroit automaker. GM will probably have to spend more money to convince consumers its EVs won’t catch fire.
But even if GM salvages the Bolt’s reputation, its eight-month stoppage has allowed competitors’ EVs to get a bigger market share. That means GM has likely lost sales thanks to the Bolt’s issues. However, ABC News reports that LG agreed to compensate GM with $2 billion due to these issues.