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After a length investigation into the cause of the electric vehicle battery issues, GM says the brand has fixed the problems with the Chevy Bolt. However, the wording of the press release sounds like GM only plans to replace certain parts of the battery for specific impacted Bolt EVs and EUVs. Will the automaker be able to fix the Bolt and the GM reputation at the same time?

How many Chevy Bolts have caught fire?

Chevy Bolt fire
More Chevy Bolt fires are breaking out every week | Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services

If you ask GM and Chevy, the number is under 10. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that the first 13 fires are associated with battery issues. The NHTSA has not yet verified the three most recent fires. Every week, owners would report a new fire. One Chevy Bolt was left overnight in a parking lot and took out the two cars next to it, including a Maserati.

Then, private parking lots started banning the Chevy Bolt from parking on it. Even though these parking lots were outside, a potential fire was too much risk for owners. No matter how many fires occurred, the reputation of Chevy and GM is already scorched.

According to the official GM press release, the brand knows what the issue was. “The root cause of the rare circumstances that could cause a battery fire is two manufacturing defects known as a torn anode and a folded separator, both of which need to be present in the same battery cell.” With this, the brand has resumed production of the vehicle.

Is GM going to fix The Chevy Bolt problem?

In the press release, GM noted that production on the Chevrolet Bolt EV battery resumed. The automaker outlined the newest plan to fix the battery issue with the Bolt EV and EUV. The fix will allow buyers to drive, charge, and park the Chevy Bolt as usual again after months of inconsistent instructions.

There will be a hardware and software fix for the Bolt. The hardware and software updates should have an “immediate effect” on the battery issue.

“Resuming battery module production is a first step and we’ll continue to work aggressively with LG to obtain additional battery supply. In addition, we’re optimistic a new advanced diagnostic software will provide more convenience for our customers.” 

Doug Parks | GM executive vice president

After mounting pressure from the industry and owners of the Chevy Bolt, is this fix too little too late? The press release notes that replacement battery modules will start shipping in October. If GM can swiftly replace the batteries and get owners back on the road, there is a chance to save GM’s reputation.

However, it sounds like Chevy only plans to replace specific “modules” on the battery and not the entire battery. If the automaker takes the easy and cheap way out of this, there will likely be repercussions for years.

Impossible and ever-changing instructions

Since the fires began, GM has offered various temporary fixes and instructions to try and curtail the fires. However, Bolt owners did not universally accept these. The Bolt had to be charged within a certain amount and only for a certain amount of time. Chevy advised drivers not to go below 70 miles of charge and not to charge overnight.

Then, drivers need to monitor the charging EV constantly. The Chevy Bolt EV and EUV could not be left while charging. GM advised owners not to park inside. After that, GM announced that Bolt owners should not park in parking garages or park within 50 feet of other cars. Unfortunately, all of these stipulations could not contain the fires.

It was hard for owners to keep up. Owning a Chevy Bolt became a full-time job due to the ever-changing instructions given out. People were understandably not happy about the lack of fixes and spoke out to the news. Since then, the problem has snowballed.

Come October; all eyes will be on GM and Chevy as the fixes start. If the automaker can swiftly handle the issue, there’s a chance the Chevy Bolt reputation can be fixed. Your move, GM.


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