Now, the man has $12,000 of debt and no car.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV was in the news recently for all the wrong reasons. There were known fire issues with the Bolt that Chevy claimed to have figured out earlier this year. GM then changed its tune and warned Bolt owners to avoid overnight charging or even parking their vehicles inside. This warning came after fresh reports of the EV catching fire surfaced, despite these vehicles having been checked under the NHTSA-issued recall. Sadly, the worst of the saga is still coming to light, and for one early Bolt buyer, this problem has left him with $12,000 of debt and no car.
Speaking with Electrek, a Bolt owner named Scott has discussed his ordeal in trying to get a fair outcome with GM. See, Scott bought a 2019 Bolt and was fanatical about caring for his car, which had amassed 21,000 miles on the clock. He'd avoid charging it when the battery was at 50% or higher and used slow charging to replenish it when necessary. Despite these precautions, Scott dropped his car at a body shop to fix a paint issue on the roof on the morning of June 29, 2020, only for the owner of the shop to call him four hours later. He arrived at the shop to find that his beloved car was smoldering and giving off an acrid smell.
Firefighters were dispatched and apparently killed the fire, but a few minutes after arriving home, the body shop owner called again with the same issue. For another four hours, the fire department tried to put out the fire. As you can imagine, the battery was toast and the car unusable.
What's worrying is that, despite being fully insured and coming with an eight-year battery warranty, Scott came up short. He owed $32,964 on the car and the insurance company only offered him $21,000, leaving him in debt. That would be okay if GM replaced the battery or provided a new car, but more than a year on from the incident and after three straight weeks of calls and communication to GM following the incident, his only responses have been "Fire voids the warranty" and "Sue us".
The case was dismissed by GM and caused this former EV fan to revert to his diesel pickup that he detests. Scott says that GM has lost a customer for life and made an apprehensive EV critic out of an EV fan. GM has not responded besides to say that the company is looking into the problem. With the company recently buying back newer Bolts with the issue and expecting to earn between $10-11 billion in profit alone this year, GM really ought to step up and support its early adopters.