Every Chevy Bolt at Risk of Battery Pack Fire, GM Recall Says

General Motors has extended it’s recall of its BEV Chevrolet Bolt to include all models ever made.

The BBC reports that the risk of a serious battery pack fire is now deemed to threaten all of the vehicles made between 2017 and 2022. It says the automaker has warned owners not to charge the cars in confined areas, such as garages, and not to run the battery’s range to below 70 miles of being completely flat.

The recall is obviously set to cost the automaker a considerable amount of money, some suggesting up to $1.8Bn, but also will damage the brand’s image and that of all high voltage lithium-ion battery powertrains.

The US’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, reports that the recall applies to all Bolt vehicles, including those that may have received an earlier recall repair for the fire risk issue.  At this time, GM is asking all Chevrolet Bolt vehicle owners to park their vehicles outside and away from structures, and to not charge the vehicles overnight. Additionally, GM is instructing owners of these vehicles to take the following actions:

  • Set their vehicle to the 90% state of charge limitation using Hilltop Reserve mode (2017 and 2018 model years) or Target Charge Level mode (2019-2022 model years). If owners are unable to set their vehicles to the 90% state of charge limitation mode, or if they feel uncomfortable making the change, GM is asking owners to visit a local dealer immediately to have the change made;
  • Recharge the battery on their Bolts after each use and not wait until the battery is almost run down (deep discharge mode) before charging it back up.

This new recall affects an additional 59,392 model year 2019-2022 vehicles which were not covered in previous recall announcements in November 2020 and July 2021. The earlier recalls for model year 2017-2019 vehicles involved 50,932 vehicles. NHTSA is aware of one fire with the interim remedy and three fires with the subsequent remedy. NHTSA opened an investigation (PE 20-016) in October 2020 and continues to evaluate the recall remedies and reported incidents, including fires.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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