Failure is not an option this time.
The Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV battery fire investigation appears to be coming to an end. The American automaker recently announced that a fix has been found. The next step is to replace the battery module in 141,000 vehicles globally. It's no small feat, and it's definitely something GM doesn't want to do ever again. With an all-electric vehicle future planned, GM's next big reveal is the GMC Hummer EV truck, followed a year or so later by the SUV.
What happened to the Bolt absolutely cannot happen to the Hummer for endless reasons. That's why GM is working "around the clock" to not only fix the Bolt but to ensure it fully understands the problem so that it doesn't affect future EVs.
Speaking to CNBC, GM's chief engineer of electrification propulsion, Mike Harpster, said that "There's a commitment across the company to not only address the issue with the LG cells and the Bolt but also make sure that all the future products are set up for success. There's not creating the fault or defect, but there's also how the pack and the vehicle respond to it. And on both those fronts, we're moving very aggressive (sic)."
It's important to know that the Bolt and the Hummer EV do not share the same battery technology. The latter, like the also upcoming Cadillac Lyriq and a host of other new premium EVs, relies on GM's new Ultium batteries. These have new and different chemistries and production processes compared to the cheaper Bolt's batteries.
Harpster's comments clearly shift the blame for the Bolt issue to LG, but you can bet that GM is learning some vital lessons such as safeguards and monitoring its new battery plants and assembly lines. In a separate interview, GM CEO Mary Barra said that the automaker's new battery plants will be "applying all of [GM's] quality processes to the manufacturing process [... and] we work every day to make sure that what we're doing is validated and tested."
One key lesson learned is the need for a wireless monitoring system. Think of it as an early warning system thanks to over-the-air updates. The Bolt is not capable of updating software remotely. Such a system will give GM the ability to see what's happening with vehicles in real-time. If an issue is found, the company can move significantly faster to fix it. The wireless monitoring system will be standard on all Ultium vehicles.