The Chevy Bolt has been causing quite a headache for owners as the electric vehicle tends to combust spontaneously. Chevy has also been an issue, as the automaker tries to control the backlash over such concerns. This 2017 Chevy Bolt Premier makes more than 10 reported Bolts to catch on fire in recent memory.
Which Chevy Bolts are being recalled?
According to the official Bolt Recall instructions, the Chevy Bolt EVs (2017-2022) and Bolt EUVs (2022) are all being recalled at this time. One user on Reddit recently shared what happened to this 2017 Chevy Bolt Premier, part of the recall. While parked in the parking lot, user Big-Benefit-8595 woke up to his Chevy Bolt on fire. The Bolt was not running at the time and was not charging. The vehicles on either side of the Chevrolet Bolt also caught on fire. According to the source, one was a Hyundai, and the other was a Maserati.
The Bolt owner was asleep when his myChevrolet app went off. The alarm noted that his vehicle needed attention, but he didn’t immediately get the notification. Upon getting the notification, the owner found the EV had burst into flames. The fire department was on the scene putting out the fires.
Nearby neighbors claim there was a large boom and then the sounds of a fire. This prompted someone to call 911 as the owner was not close enough to notice what was happening. Thankfully, this vehicle was parked in a parking lot and not in a garage.
What are the problems with Chevy Bolt?
The 2017 Chevy Bolt Premier owner says he didn’t notice anything unusual before parking the car. The electric vehicle still had more than 30 miles left until it needed a charge, and he rarely charged over the recommended State of Charge (SoC) amount.
However, according to the Bolt Recall instructions, this mileage may have been too low. “Charge your vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting their battery below approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) of remaining range, where possible,” Chevrolet said.
But there were a ton of stipulations released. Each model has instructions, and each year does as well. Chevy wanted owners to only charge to 90% and to park outside right after charging. The company also suggested not leaving the vehicle charging indoors overnight. Chevy now thinks the fires are due to two defects in the battery cells, hence the instructions above. The automaker has promised to replace the defective batteries, but there is a lot of work to be done still. But for now, Chevrolet is taking a hit from the public.
This has been a nightmare for owners
Bloomberg recently reported about the issue, with one owner calling it “nightmare territory.” Bloomberg says that over 142,000 Bolts have been recalled so far. Neil Wintle, a Bolt owner, said the experience has been “more than a little nerve-wracking.” After installing a home charger in the garage below his bedroom, Chevrolet no longer suggests parking in the garage overnight.
“It’s really kind of disturbing knowing that right below me is a car that could catch fire,” Wintle told Bloomberg. People are wary about going electric for fear that something like this could happen. Sean Graham, a Bolt owner in Canada, says, “GM has lost the trust of the owners.” And it has. The Bolt was a pretty massive success for the company, which means the issue is widespread.
GM seems confident the brand will be able to move past the issue, but there’s a lot of work to be done until then. With three significant recalls in less than a year, inventory for used Bolts is on the rise. According to Recurrent, a company that tracks the used-EV market said that used Bolt inventory was up 75% in the last month. The supply of non-Bolt EVs was up 28%.
Chevy says it is working around the clock to replace the batteries, but the issues remain in the meantime. If you own a Bolt, make sure to follow the instructions and park your vehicle outside for the time being.