GM recalls all Chevy Bolts for fire risk, recall to cost extra $1B

  • The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV. (Chevrolet/TNS)

DETROIT – General Motors on Friday issued a new recall that expands to all Chevrolet Bolt EVs and the new EUV for fire risk and will provide customers with an eight-year warranty on new battery modules for the affected cars.

The automaker said it expects the recall to cost it an additional $1 billion and is seeking reimbursement for some of that cost from the battery supplier, LG Chem.

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GM said that, in rare cases, batteries supplied to GM for the Bolts “may have two manufacturing defects — a torn anode tab and folded separator — present in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire.”

The high voltage batteries used in the Bolts are made by LG Chem’s Ochang, South Korea, facility though GM discovered manufacturing defects in certain battery cells produced at LG manufacturing facilities beyond the Ochang, Korea, plant, GM said.

GM’s upcoming EVs will use the automaker’s proprietary Ultium battery system.

Last month, GM recalled 68,600 of the model year 2017-19 all-electric Bolt hatchbacks for the second time in less than a year because of a potential fire risk.

The company made the move after two Bolts caught fire without impact in recent months. GM is confirming that at least one of the Bolt fires was battery-related and happened despite the owner getting the fix from GM’s first recall on the cars last November.

GM is expanding that second recall to include an additional 9,335 of the 2019 model year Bolts as well as 63,683 of the 2020-22 model year Bolt EV and the new EUV. Most of those are in the United States.

GM said in a statement: “Out of an abundance of caution, GM will replace defective battery modules in Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs with new modules, with an expected additional cost of approximately $1 billion.”

In the second-quarter earnings report, GM said the Bolt recall has already cost $800 million. That cost made up the bulk of GM’s $1.3 billion in warranty expenses in the quarter.

This recall is significant, but it is hardly GM’s biggest recall. In 2014, GM recalled more than 2.7 million cars due to faulty ignition switches that could cause the engines to stall in small GM vehicles such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion. Altogether, that scandal left at least 124 people dead and 275 injured. That cost the company more than $5.3 billion in the end.

Until customers in the new recall population receive replacement modules, they should:

– Set their car at a 90% state of charge limitation using Target Charge Level mode or have their dealer do it.

– Charge their vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting their battery below 70 miles of remaining range.

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– Park their vehicles outside immediately after charging and do not leave their vehicles charging indoors overnight.

Any Bolt owners with additional questions or concerns should go to www.chevy.com/boltevrecall. They can also call the Chevrolet EV Concierge 833-EVCHEVY, which is available 8 a.m.-12 a.m. Monday-Friday; noon-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Or call their dealer.

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