It's "like a firebomb."
While some owners are ignoring fire warnings associated with their Chevrolet Bolt and its defective battery module, others are taking it very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they're demanding for General Motors to buy back their electric vehicles.
The Detroit Free Press has spoken to several Bolt EV and Bolt EUV owners who simply no longer want their vehicles. They find it "unsettling" owning a vehicle that could potentially catch on fire without warning. Last month, GM issued a recall for around 141,000 units globally. All will have their battery modules replaced with new ones at an estimated cost of $1 billion. Around a dozen Bolts have gone up in flames while parked so far, but we don't know for certain whether this specific defect was the reason.
Unfortunately, neither GM nor battery manufacturer LG Chem has been able to determine the fire's cause, but it's working "around the clock" to figure it out. In the meantime, GM sent Bolt owners a very specific list of instructions on what to do and what not to do with their vehicles, such as parking it outside on the street at night.
That's still not good enough for some. They simply no longer want their Bolts and feel GM is obligated to buy them back. What's unusual about this situation is that GM issued the recall before a fix was ready. That's not how these things typically work. And because of that, many owners simply feel less safe and they're angry.
At least one owner has confirmed GM agreed to buy back his Bolt but wasn't told how much it'd pay. Determining a fair price isn't easy because each side has a different idea of what's "fair." Others are not interested in the recall at all. They're unconvinced the problem will be fully resolved. They just want out of the Chevy Bolt business completely, but not for a low price.
Without question, this is a public relations problem for America's biggest automaker. But it's also trying to do the right thing which, in this case, was announcing the recall for safety's sake before a permanent solution was found. GM acknowledged it is buying back Bolts on a case-by-case basis, but offered no specifics.