Chevrolet does not have a ‘permanent fix’ yet, but limiting charging to 90 percent should reduce the risks
PSA: General Motors has issued a recall order on its Chevy Bolt. At least 68,667 of the electric vehicles have been recalled because of potential battery fires. The cars affected are Bolts manufactured between 2017 and 2019. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working with GM to figure out the cause of the fires.
So far, five instances of battery fires have been reported in Chevy Bolts, with two injuries caused by smoke inhalation. At least one of the fires spread to the owner’s home. The NHTSA is actively investigating three of the reported incidents. South Korean battery manufacturer LG Chem is GM’s primary supplier of batteries for the Chevy Bolt. All of the units in question were made at LG Chem’s Ochang factory.
“The affected vehicles’ cell packs have the potential to smoke and ignite internally, which could spread to the rest of the vehicle and cause a structure fire if parked inside a garage or near a house,” officials said in a press release. The agency recommends keeping the vehicles outside and away from the house until repaired.
The NHTSA reports that 50,932 of the vehicles in the recall are located in the United States.
Starting Tuesday, November 17, Chevy dealerships will begin installing software that limits battery charging to 90 percent to reduce overheating and fire risks. This measure is only a temporary precaution while GM investigates a permanent fix.
“Our engineers are working around the clock to identify a permanent fix, and we intend to deploy a final remedy to remove the 90% limitation as quickly as possible after the first of the year, 2021,” the car manufacturer said.
GM urges owners to be unable to get into a dealership for the software patch right away to limit their charging capacity manually. In the 2017 and 2018 Bolt, users should set charging to “Hill Top Reserve.” For 2019 models, change the “Target Charge Level” to 90 percent.