It ain't over until it's over.
Production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV is still not happening. Last month, General Motors said production downtime of the electric vehicle twins at its Orion Assembly Plant in Michigan was expected to last through the month. It's now November and Automotive News has confirmed with the automaker that an additional three weeks of downtime is planned from November 13 until December 3.
Limited production has been taking place in order to optimize LG battery output and to handle other unspecified customer and dealer needs regarding the massive $2 billion recall involving around 143,000 vehicles that all require new battery modules. "Battery module replacements remain the priority. We will continue to adjust Orion's production schedule moving forward to best support the recall," a GM spokesperson said.
The automaker began replacing those battery modules on 2017-2019 models in October. For newer 2020-2022 vehicles, GM said it will run various diagnostic software tests to determine whether replacing the entire module is even necessary. It might be possible to fix some vehicles with much faster and far less expensive software upgrades. However, the software fix is not yet available.
The Orion Assembly Plant has been down since August 23. This whole thing began last year when GM issued its first recall regarding a confirmed Bolt fire. Its first solution did not work.
A second recall arrived in July but that still didn't solve things. Owners were further told to avoid parking in their garages. The decision was made in August to recall the entire lot. To date, there have been 13 fires because of two specific defects: folded separators and torn anode tabs.
LG Chem, the supplier tasked with building the batteries, has agreed to pay GM $1.9 billion of the $2 billion recall cost. It has been determined there was a manufacturing defect that led to the fires. However, both companies have confirmed they will continue their partnership to build GM's next-generation Ultium batteries. The Bolts use previous-gen battery tech.