Better late than never, right?
Last September, Chevy Bolts were reportedly catching fire and nobody knew why. Following an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which was spurred into action following two reports of fires in 2018 and 2019 model year Chevrolet Bolt EVs, General Motors issued a recall in November for over 68,000 vehicles built from 2017 through 2019 because of a problem found in the high-voltage battery pack.
Those packs were manufactured by South Korea's LG Chem, which also supplies batteries for the Hyundai Kona Electric that has fire problems of its own and will likely be discontinued soon. The worst thing for any EV is probably its battery catching on fire. It's a safety and PR disaster.
The Bolt's battery problem was temporarily fixed by installing updates to limit their charging to 90 percent. A full capacity charge could create a fire risk. But now GM says it's finally figured things out and has issued an updated recall.
Affected Bolt owners will need to bring their car to a dealer who will run a specifically designed diagnostic procedure that'll determine if the car is at risk. If dangerous cells are found, the batteries will be replaced. A software update is also on the agenda in order to prevent this fire risk from ever happening again.
"The remedy will also include the installation of advanced onboard diagnostic software into these vehicles that, among other things, has the ability to detect potential issues related to changes in battery module performance before problems can develop," the automaker said in a statement.
Of course, this will all be done completely free of charge because why should owners pay to have their EVs repaired so they won't ignite and subsequently melt? There were no fatalities associated with this incident, though two people were injured in five known cases.
Also worth noting is that the Bolt is GM's first series production dedicated EV. When it launched for 2017, it featured many new technologies, such as high-voltage batteries. This doesn't excuse those battery fires but has served as a learning experience that, very hopefully, won't happen again with the carmaker's new lineup of Ultium-based EVs.