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GM has spent billions getting ready to produce an onslaught of electric vehicles over the next several years. And it is quick to remind everyone, especially Wall Street, about that. But its first EV, the Chevy Bolt, has seen a series of catastrophes, making some wonder if it is able to ever pull off electrification. The most recent is that despite announcing it would restart production of 2022 Bolt models now, it has announced it won’t begin until after December. 

GM won’t restart Chevy Bolt production until Q1 2022

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV | Chevy

So sometime in the first quarter of 2022, Chevy will begin production of the Bolt. The Lake Orion plant has been down since August. Production was scheduled to begin by now, but pushing it back to the first quarter gives GM some room. It also helps to ease the supply chain issues continuing to haunt most all manufacturers. 

Orion Assembly employees will be contacted after the first of the year as to when GM will restart Bolt production. GM says it is prioritizing battery replacement and improvements to production models. It would seem it has its hands full covering all of the aspects of the fix, recall, and battery replacements.

This all started with the many unexplained fires happening spontaneously. Some of these fires began after GM recalls, which supposedly were to fix the problem. With two recalls already, and the fires continuing, it had only one option.

GM’s $2 billion Chevy Bolt recall

A 2017 Chevy bolt in light blue driving down a road toward the camera. GM recently announced an assembly plant would be closed for three weeks due to the nationwide Chevy Bolt recall
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV | General Motors

In September, GM announced it would recall every Bolt ever made, which goes back to the 2017 model year. It recommended Bolt owners could continue to drive them, but not park them in enclosed spaces or close to buildings until a fix was found. GM also told owners not to recharge overnight.

Its most recent patch, announced just last week, was expected to finally fix the problem. Now, GM is saying only 2019 Bolts can be safely parked in garages and near buildings. But range has taken a hit in the process. That is because it is advised not to charge up to more than 80 percent.

Most of the fires occurred when batteries were almost empty and then charged to near-capacity. This created thermal runaway events that are the makings for the Bolt fires. Now, GM has developed new software that can detect and potentially stop this from happening. After the 2019 Bolts have received the patch, the other year models will receive it as well. 

Every Bolt will get a replacement battery

Chevy Bolt EV rendering showing the battery modules supplied by LG Chem
Chevy Bolt EV battery modules | General Motors

Once the Bolts are recalled, they will receive full battery replacement, with costs to GM estimated to be over $2 billion. LG, the makers of the batteries, will cover $1.9 billion of those costs. 

This has been a huge black eye for GM but kudos for attempting to get it right. Unfortunately, Bolt owners aren’t getting what they paid for. With the numerous recalls, warnings, and lack of range, it has been an epic mess for the general. All all the while, Tesla keeps selling EVs.


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