But there's light at the end of the tunnel.
This whole saga dates back to last year when a Chevrolet Bolt caught on fire. It wasn't a one-time thing as other similar incidents were soon reported. The problem has since been traced to defective lithium-ion battery modules. A recall was issued only days ago for 68,000 Bolts and now the automaker has announced additional 2019 model year examples not included in the earlier recall are being added. But that's not the full extent.
The updated 2022 Bolt and its new crossover sister ship, the Bolt EUV, are also now included, along with 2020 and 2021 Bolts. GM says it will replace those possibly defective battery modules with new ones at an estimated additional cost of $1 billion.
This is a voluntary recall that's being done in full coordination with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). "Our focus on safety and doing the right thing for our customers guides every decision we make at GM," said Doug Parks, the company's vice president of Global Product Development. "GM customers can be confident in our commitment to taking the steps to ensure the safety of these vehicles."
The automaker is taking the better safe than sorry approach here, which is absolutely the right thing to do. Not only are lives potentially at stake, but also GM's goal of becoming an industry EV leader.
If it (and the federal government) wants consumers to buy EVs, they must be convinced of their safety. Battery fires, shall we say, are not good for business. GM did not manufacture these battery packs, but rather South Korea's LG Chem. As part of its investigation, the companies discovered defects in some battery cells at the supplier's production plant. It's impossible to know for certain whether all of the recalled vehicles were built with defective cells, hence the decision for such a massive recall.
GM is expected to begin notifying owners shortly with instructions on what to do next. A list of things of what not to do has already been published. All new modules will come with an 8-year/100,000-mile warranty.