Chevy Bolt Fires Lead to Expanded and Expensive Recall

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Owners of Chevrolet’s electric vehicle, the Bolt, are likely to be subject to a new round of recalls. When numerous Bolts started catching fire it led to massive recalls which were initially only applicable to model years 2017-2019.
However, GM has recently expanded the recall to include model years 2019-2021.
Red 2020 Chevy Bolt being charged by a man
Despite the massive recall of Chevy Volt’s, GM doesn’t let it affect their aspirational EV future.

What’s causing the Chevy Bolt’s fires?

Bolts are bursting into flames due to an issue with their batteries. A manufacturing defect within the battery cell seems to be the cause of the problem, with a torn anode tab and a folded separator being the culprits.
GM has provided specific safety precautions for Bolt owners as they await for recalls to be fulfilled.
For starters, GM wants Bolt owners to set their vehicles to a 90% state of charge limitation. Owners of the 2017-2018 model years should use “Hilltop Reserve” mode while charging. Whereas owners of the 2019 model year should use “Target Charge Level” mode.
Additionally, GM strongly encourages Bolt owners to park outside. The company also encourages that all charging sessions be supervised. Out of an abundance of caution, GM recommends never letting the battery go below 70 miles of driving range.

The cost of the recall

The first Chevy Bolt recall affected 69,000 cars globally. This new recall adds 73,000 vehicles to the recall list, leading to a total of 150,000 cars getting recalled because of this issue.
This covers every Bolt EV model ever produced, with the total cost of the recall expected to exceed $1.8 billion according to CNBC. However, it is unclear if GM will be absorbing the cost alone. GM is in talks with LG Energy Solution, the battery producer.
The two companies are likely to split the bill.
While this is a major recall, stockholders haven’t flinched. After news broke of the additional recalls, GM stock barely moved. The stock value did suffer a slight dip, but it went down by less than 1%.

The recall’s impact on GM’s electric vehicle aspirations

The problems with the Chevy Bolt cast a shadow over GM’s goal to be competitive in the emerging EV market. Previously, the company announced that it plans to be 100% electric by the year 2035.
The Bolt’s battery problems raise serious concerns about whether GM can achieve this.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that GM and LG Energy Solution have yet to find a remedy for their battery problems. However, GM doesn’t see this as an unpassable obstruction for its EV ambitions.
Future GM EVs will have batteries that have a different chemistry than those present in the Bolt.
Combustible batteries don’t mean the death of a product. After all, Samsung had battery fire issues with their popular Galaxy devices. Despite this hiccup, Samsung was able to identify and correct the problem. We anticipate GM will be able to do the same.
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