Electric Car

GM Admits Early Production Bolts Are Having Range-Killing Battery Issues

The problem affects less than 100 Bolts on the road today.

Oh dear, what do we have here. Another quality complaint about GM? It seems so, as a report by PluginCars.com claims. Only this time, it’s regarding Chevrolet’s make-it-or-break-it electric car that’s intended to serve as a stand-in for the Tesla Model 3 in case Elon Musk screws it all up and leaves EV customers looking for an alternative. To capitalize on Tesla’s habit of making its customers wait, Chevy flexed its experienced muscle and hustled the Bolt out to dealership lots.

Unfortunately, that may have been its downfall because according to the electric car fan site, Chevy has just begun alerting Bolt customers of a problem with the car’s battery. Fortunately, Kevin Kelly, senior manager for advanced technology communications at General Motor, told PluginCars.com that the issue only affects 1% of Bolts on the road today. The problem regards the battery, one of the Bolt's biggest selling points, and Chevy is reaching out to the “fewer than a couple hundred customers” that have been impacted to make them aware of the issue and offer a free fix. The faulty part, according to Kelly, is one or more battery cells that can malfunction and therefore reduce the vehicle’s range.

This is a problem given how reliant Bolt sales are on its ability to rack up many miles per charge. The decrease in range isn’t reflected by the Bolt’s computer and can lead some owners to think they have more range than they really do. The article's author experienced the problem themselves, seeing a Bolt with 100 miles of range go dead less than a mile later. Chevy knew about the problem, having recently found it by digging into On Star data. “We noticed an anomaly via data from OnStar and that led us to investigate the issue,” said Kelly. The fix is to replace the entire battery, even if a single cell is the problem. Given that the Bolt recently out-traveled two Teslas during a Consumer Reports range test, Chevy might want to hurry with the fix.

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