General Motors issued a recall for 69,000 Chevrolet Bolts after two more of the electric vehicles caught fire recently. The action comes a week after the company and the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration advised owners of 2017-2019 Bolt owners to park their cars outside and away from their homes — again.
The vehicles were part of a recall last November where a software update was issued to temporarily resolve the problem — along with a recommendation of not charging the Bolt past 90% of capacity — as GM and NHTSA investigated further.
The new recall replaces “defective battery modules” in the affected vehicles, which numbers more than 69,000 units with nearly 51,000 being in the U.S.
GM is still asking customers to continue getting their vehicles fixed under the recall issued in November 2020. The fix limits the battery pack’s charging capacity to 90% until a permanent solution is determined. The batteries were manufactured at LG Chem’s Ochang, South Korea factory.
Keep doing what you’re doing
Chevrolet issued specific recommendations for affected owners, much of which is the same as what they’ve already been told to do.
Customers should, whether or not they received the current software update, return their vehicle to the 90% state of charge limitation using Hilltop Reserve mode (for 2017-2018 model years) or Target Charge Level (for 2019 model year) mode.
If customers are unable to successfully make these changes, or do not feel comfortable making these changes, we are asking them to visit their dealer to have these adjustments completed.
“Additionally, we ask that customers charge their vehicle after each use and avoid depleting their battery below approximately 70 miles of remaining range, where possible,” the company said in a statement.
Finally, Chevy urged owners to keep parking their vehicles outside after charging and to not charge their vehicles overnight.
Not alone with battery problems
But GM isn’t the only automaker facing lithium-ion battery fires. Hyundai Motor Co. and BMW AG have faced similar recalls in recent months.
In February, Hyundai recalled 82,000 battery-electric vehicles worldwide for lithium ion batteries that could catch fire. Vehicles affected include approximately 76,000 battery-electric Hyundai Kona EVs built between 2018 and 2020, with the rest consisting of Hyundai Ioniqs and city buses. Hyundai replaced the batteries rather than resolving the issue through software updates. The recall, which cost Hyundai $900 million, comes after at least 15 Konas reportedly caught fire.
LG Chem, which produces the cells, claims the automaker incorrectly applied recommendations about fast battery charging management. Hyundai advised vehicle owners to limit charging to 90% of the battery capacity until the cells can be replaced. Nevertheless, the battery supplier assumed 70% of the recall cost.
BMW issued a recall in September of its plug-in hybrid models after they were found to be at a risk for catching fire. The car’s batteries, made by Samsung, had welding debris left inside the pack that could create a short between modules. The recall covered 4,509 plug-in hybrid BMW or Mini vehicles in the U.S., and 26,900 vehicles worldwide.