General Motors To Replace Battery Modules in 68,000 Recalled Bolt Electric Vehicles

Kimberly Redmond  |

Image: 2019 Chevrolet Bolt. Source: General Motors

General Motors Company (NYSE:  GM) plans to start replacing all of the lithium-ion battery modules in thousands of recalled Chevrolet Bolt EVs to reduce the risk of the vehicles catching fire.

On Tuesday, GM said it began sending out recall letters to the owners of the 68,000 affected vehicles worldwide and will start repairs later this month, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Over the past year, GM has already twice recalled model years 2017-19 of the Chevy Bolt following more than a dozen incidents in which the EV went up in flames due to battery-related issues, according to Electrek

In November 2020, GM first recalled the 68,000 Bolt EVs and rolled out a firmware update to limit vehicle charging capacity to 90%. 

In April 2021, GM issued the second recall to apply the final software fix. 

After at least two more reports of fires in vehicles that had already should have been fixed via the update, last month the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) advised 2017 to 2019 Bolt owners to park their cars outside and not leave them charging unattended overnight. 

Since then, the automaker has been working on another repair since cars have still caught fire after the "final" fix

For the latest recall campaign, GM said it worked with LG Chem Ltd — which manufactured the high-voltage batteries being recalled — to identify the source of the issue and determined two rare errors in the same battery cell as the root cause of battery fires in certain Bolt EVs.

The scope of repairs will involve replacing only defective battery modules, rather than the entire battery pack, according to GM. Additionally, owners who undergo the replacement for their vehicles will get a new 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty, according to Electrek.

A spokesperson for LG Energy Solutions (LGES), a wholly owned LG Chem subsidiary, told Reuters it "will actively cooperate to ensure that the recall measures are carried out smoothly."

GM and LG also aim to devise a way for owners to determine if their Bolt EV batteries are at risk of catching fire.

During its second quarter earnings report released last month, GM said it was preparing to spend $800 million to address the battery issue in nearly 70,000 Bolts due to a fire risk. At a cost of $11,650 per vehicle, it is one of the most expensive recalls ever on a per-car basis, CNN noted.

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