GM’s Chevy Bolt Recall Just Got Worse

GM has had its work cut out for it, dealing with the Chevy Bolt. 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. Now GM has had to expand the Chevy Bolt recall to include every Bolt ever made – years 2017-2022. What’s going on and when will it be resolved?

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

The problem with the Chevy Bolt

The problem with the Chevrolet Bolt seems to stem from its battery. The Bolt’s batteries are manufactured by LG, and GM is saying that these spontaneous fires are LG’s fault. According to Tech Crunch, an investigation by GM showed that there were defects in the LG batteries – some had a “torn anode tab and folded separator.”

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 Bolts currently off the market, GM is left with no fully electric cars. 

What can Bolt owners do to keep themselves safe

Chevy Bolt owners are understandably concerned about the latest recall, especially considering previous attempts to remedy the situation have failed. The NHTSA says that they are “aware of one fire with the interim remedy and three fires with the subsequent remedy.” So even if someone had already had their Bolt in for a repair, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re in the clear now. 

Until this whole mess is sorted out, GM has some safety precautions for Bolt owners to put in place. They should continue to not park near a structure like a house or in a garage. Bolt owners also shouldn’t charge their vehicles overnight. Additionally, GM advises Bolt owners to “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.” 

Another safety tip is to charge after every use and to not wait until a battery is almost empty (called deep discharge mode) before charging it again. 

What does the latest recall mean for GM’s partnership with LG

This isn’t LG’s only battery issue. Hyundai ran into a problem with LG’s batteries recently, to the tune of roughly $850 million. So what does this mean for the GM and LG duo? They had plans to build a second battery plant in Tennessee, but it’s unclear whether they’ll still go through with this.  

Obviously the latest Chevy Bolt recall isn’t good news for anyone. GM is facing a major loss, LG is losing credibility, and Bolt drivers are probably pretty nervous. Hopefully this whole thing can be remedied quickly and safely, before someone gets hurt. 

RELATED: 5 of the Cheapest Cars You Can Buy Right Now