General Motors now plans to replace all battery modules on Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles covered by recall the company announced back in July.
The module replacements, which could start this month, follows GM’s announcement this week it was recalling 2017-2019 Bolt battery-powered cars for the second time in less than a year, according to Reuters.
Two recent fires involving affected Bolts were reported after the initial recall, including one vehicle that had updated software, the agency said.
GM said in a statement Monday it would replace recalled vehicles’ lithium-ion battery modules with new modules, rather than replacing entire battery packs. “The battery pack case, wiring and the other pack components are not defective and do not need replacing,” the statement said.
Earlier recall plan fails to solve problem
GM said earlier the high-voltage batteries being recalled were produced in South Korean battery manufacturer LG Chem’s facility in Ochang, South Korea.
The company disclosed July 23, along with LG Chem, it identified the presence of two manufacturing defects in the same battery cell as the root cause of battery fires in certain Bolt EVs. GM described the defects as “rare” by GM.
LG Energy Solutions, a wholly owned LG Chem battery subsidiary, said in a statement to Reuters it “will actively cooperate to ensure that the recall measures are carried out smoothly.”
Last month, GM disclosed it was taking an $800 million charge to cover the cost of the recall of the battery electric vehicles.
The recall of Bolt EVs comes as GM is preparing to ramp up a multi-billion-dollar investment that will put 30 new electric vehicles on the road by 2025. One of the first new models, the GMC Hummer EV, is scheduled to appear this fall. In addition, GM is now committed to building four new battery plants in the United States through a partnership with LG Chem, according to GM chairman Mary Barra.
GM’s not alone
GM isn’t the only automaker facing lithium-ion battery fires. Hyundai Motor Co., Ford 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.