Some owners have even profited from the buyback.
Despite advances in battery tech and car safety, some electric cars are still prone to catching on fire. We were reminded of this last month when a Tesla Model S with nobody driving caught on fire after hitting a tree, killing both occupants who were reportedly in the back seat.
Last year, several Chevrolet Bolt EVs mysteriously caught fire, severely damaging the electric compact's reputation. Nobody was killed, but there were two reports of injuries from smoke inhalation, leading to GM recalling more than 68,000 vehicles last year, including 50,900 in the US. Affected models include Chevrolet Bolt EV cars built between July 26, 2016 and September 10, 2019. As a temporary fix, Chevrolet updated the software to limit the charging to 90%, but this didn't work as another Bolt EV burned to the ground earlier this month after the update was installed.
Chevrolet claims it has idntified the cause of fires and issued an updated recall this month to replace any faulty batteries. Inside EVs has discovered that General Motors is offering to buy back some affected Chevrolet Bolts from owners. Not every request has been successful, however.
On a Chevrolet Bolt subreddit, a survey found that 233 owners requested a buyback. Of these, 76 of the requests were accepted and 19 were denied but received a loaner car. Eight requests were denied without being offered a loaner car and 130 are still waiting for a reply. One user said the buyback took around two months and GM even pays the full sticker price when it's returned. Another owner managed to profit from the buyback because GM didn't factor in the $7,500 EV tax credit.
Successful buybacks seem to depend on lemon laws in different US states. Most owners who had their buyback requests accepted were from California and Massachusetts, while the highest number of customers with denied requests were based in Illinois.
Alternatively, dealers can run a diagnostic test on affected cars to find out if they're at risk and replace the batteries if necessary. GM's buyback program is voluntary and could be discontinued at any time, so if you haven't had your Chevrolet Bolt fixed yet it might be worth contacting GM to find out if it's eligible for a buyback.