UPDATE: Early Chevrolet Bolt Owners Being Notified By GM For Potential Battery Failure

3 months ago by Eric Loveday 115

Chevy Bolt Battery

It seems some Chevrolet Bolts have the potential for battery failure.

Fortunately, General Motors is already aware of the issue and is proactively reaching out to owners of Bolts that may be impacted.

Chevrolet Bolt EV Battery – 60 kWH

*UPDATE: GreenCarReports received this statement from General Motors:

We are aware of a small number of early Bolt EV customers who have experienced loss of propulsion. Due to a battery low voltage condition, the car may incorrectly report remaining range at low states of charge and lose propulsion before the customer expects.

Of the more than 10,000 Bolt EVs sold to date, less than 1 percent have experienced this issue so far. Early production vehicles are more likely to have this issue, as we are always finding ways to improve quality throughout our supply chain.

Through OnStar advanced diagnostics, we have identified the vehicles that could develop this condition over time and are contacting the affected customers to arrange for service.

As PluginCars stated yesterday:

“General Motors today began notifying a couple of hundred owners of the Chevrolet Bolt all-electric car about a battery problem that could leave them stranded. In an exclusive interview with PluginCars.com, Kevin Kelly, ‎senior manager for advanced technology communications at General Motors, said that the problem might affect less than one percent of early Bolt production models.”

Affected Bolts will require a total battery replacement, even if only a single cell is found to be faulty.

Kelly believes the problem affects fewer than a couple hundred customers.

What’s the issue? It’s not clear really, but Kelly says:

“We noticed an anomaly via data from OnStar and that led us to investigate the issue.”

PluginCars explains:

“He said that the problem is caused by one or more of the cells malfunctioning and thereby providing a false reading of remaining range on the dashboard. Drivers could then be misled into thinking the Bolt’s battery pack has sufficient energy to complete a trip—only to experience the car run out of charge and abruptly stop.”

PluginCars’ Brad Berman experience this particular issue in his own personal Bolt, which left him stranded on at least one occasion. He tells his story in full at the source link below. Berman states:

“It took nearly two weeks for a new battery pack to be shipped to the dealership and swapped into the car. The service record indicated: “Battery has a bad cell 25.”

“It was surprising to learn that my Bolt—which has been performing well since a new complete battery pack was installed two days ago—is considered an “early” production unit. My lease began more than six months after the first sales of the model.”

As of right now, we don’t see a specific recall or mention of any battery-related issue on the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt listed on NHTSA. Nor is there a release from GM on the matter at this time. We’ll update this post when more information becomes available.

Source: PluginCars

Tags: , , , , , , ,

115 responses to "UPDATE: Early Chevrolet Bolt Owners Being Notified By GM For Potential Battery Failure"

  1. John says:

    That doesn’t bode well.
    Hopefully it’s an easy fix and nothing else pops up.

    This does reinforce my belief that buying a first gen, early release anything could create headaches.

    1. Zoomit says:

      Except the Bolt EV is not first gen BEV. It’s their 3rd gen, if you reasonably count the EV1 and the Spark EV. That also discounts the 2 generations of Volts.

      1. WadeTyhon says:

        I think he means first year of a new gen model.

        The ’16 Volt had several issues as well that do not seem to be occuring in ’17 Volts.

        Or the drivetrain on early Model S’s.

        Its one reason that I’m nit too concerned I will not be getting a model 3 until summer or fall next year!

        1. Spoonman. says:

          That situation means 2013 C-Max Energis are pretty cheap, because they got a bad reputation from all the stuff Ford had to fix initially – which was really all just software; the cars are fine.

        2. FISHEV says:

          “Its one reason that I’m not too concerned I will not be getting a Model 3 until summer or fall next year!”

          So right. I’m even further out since I’m waiting for AWD to show up and hit the road for six months before cashing in my April 1 reservation. Also why I’m going for the $5K extended warranty and service plan.

          With early T3’s being given to employees vs. sold, similar issues that might arise in early models will likely not reach the public.

          Seeing more and more Bolts on the road. Cool car, power seats and dynamic cruise and I’d still consider one for $20K less than Model 3. The ones I’ve seen look to have good ground clearance so the FWD would be OK for skiing.

      2. Mike says:

        Well the Bolt is really a GM/LG drivetrain so I wouldn’t necessarily think it represents mature design and manufacturing knowledge. A lot of the LG components represent their first design iteration for an EV and it is a new level of collaboration between the two companies.

        There is a reasonable chance that the problem is associated with a miscommunication between the two companies. The classic example of this is the Mars orbiter where a miscommunication between NASA and Lockheed caused to 125,000,000 orbiter to crater into Mars.

        1. Gerhard Hauer says:

          It woud have helped if the US would have REALLY adopted the metric systems, really like in “everybody using it.”

          1. unlucky says:

            Or if no one had. In a way, switching systems made this error possible.

            1. CCIE says:

              Ha. Yup, we like our inches, pounds, gallons, and fahrenheit degrees!

              I was telling someone recently that air traffic controllers at any international airport have to speak English and all altitudes are given in feet. They were shocked.

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                Oh, go on. Next you’ll be telling me they’re still measuring fuel efficiency in miles per gallon in the UK.

                Oh, wait… 😉

                * * * * *

                I demand that from now on, all speeds must be expressed in units of furlongs per fortnight!

                1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

                  lol…….he said furlongs per fortnight!

                2. CCIE says:

                  I was in the U.K. this summer and was very surprised to find all speeds are still in mph!

          2. Raymond Ramirez says:

            I agree 100%. Even Great Britain, where the Imperial system was created, is changing to the international Metric system. Only the U.S. remains using the Imperial system as a vestigial reminder that we were a colony under the British Empire. Keeping the Imperial system means that the U.S. wants to remember their colonial days after 240 years!

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Zoomit said:

        “…the Bolt EV is not first gen BEV. It’s their 3rd gen, if you reasonably count the EV1 and the Spark EV.”

        It’s the first powertrain produced by LG Electronics’ new automotive division. Sure, they’ve got GM overseeing the process, and yes, GM has lots of experience in building EVs. But there are consequences to depending on one single inexperienced supplier to make the entire EV powertrain for a mass produced car.

        This is one of those consequences.

        1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

          I can hear the finger pointing now……

          GM: you built it wrong.
          LG: we built it according to your specifications.

          1. Raymond Ramirez says:

            This was not “built wrong” at all. The article clearly reports that the measuring system will indicate a higher range than possible due to a bad cell. All battery systems may develop bad cells because no manufacturing system is 100% perfect. That is why they are tested before combining into a battery, and tested again. Infant mortality failures is an accepted risk for any new technology.

  2. WadeTyhon says:

    These things happen unfortunately.

    Hopefully my Bolt is not effected! But if it is, I am glad they found the issue before I had trouble.

    1. Raymond Ramirez says:

      As an EE, I agree that these early failures are acceptable, and was caught so soon. Gm has a vastly superior engineering group, and a 1% failure possibility is great.

  3. jim stack says:

    It’s great they can and do watch this via on star. They are doing good with tech like that. Now if they can do software updates like Tesla it will be really good.

    1. SJC says:

      OnStar..brilliant! They keep track of everything then fix it before it is a big problem. Nissan could learn from them.

      1. Jason says:

        Nissan has their telemetrics unit, so they should be able to gather all sorts of information anyway. You can pack a lot of information into an SMS, especially if you send by exception. Not so good for software updates, though.
        I just don’t think Nissan had been proactive with this capability, at least nothing that had been made known to us consumers.

        1. SJC says:

          If they had it in LEAF they would have seen the battery degradation starting to happen and fix it early, instead they jacked around their customers

  4. John C says:

    I’ve always thought the slow rollout was driven by the desire to beta test. They are not going to advertise and try to scale production until they have a LOT of real world data.

    So long as they make good through recall….I think this is how new tech gets fielded.

    1. Bob says:

      They are not going to advertise and try to scale production until they’re no longer losing $8,000-10,000 per Bolt.

      1. CCIE says:

        Do people really believe that? They don’t need the EV credits. So why would they sell at a loss?

        I feel like the same people that believe that about the Bolt also say that Tesla is making money on a $35k M3. Can’t have it both ways.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Yes, GM does need those ZEV credits, CCIE. It’s probably no coincidence at all that GM isn’t going to make many more Bolt EVs than it needs to earn the credits it needs. It’s also probably no coincidence that GM isn’t planning to sell many Bolt EVs outside the U.S., where such sales won’t earn them any ZEV credits. If you doubt this is true, see the article linked below.

          * * * * *

          It’s typical for a new car model to “lose” money during the first year of production… but only if your accountant charges all of the R&D and tooling up costs against a single year of car sales. So on that rather skewed basis, the Volt EV is probably “losing” money… just like every new model of car during its first year.

          I doubt the Bolt EV is losing much if any money on a per unit cost basis. But that’s not looking at the broader situation. PEVs (Plug-in EVs) still cost more to make than similarly-equipped gasmobiles. Therefore, it costs GM more to make a profit off one unit of the Bolt EV than it does to make a profit off one unit of its popular gasmobiles. So if GM has extra money to spend by increasing production of some of its cars, which is it going to choose? The low-profit PEV, or the higher-profit gasmobile? That’s a no-brainer, unfortunately for us EV advocates!

          * * * * *


          1. CCIE says:

            I don’t think they’re making much money on it. As you say, it’s new technology and will be low margin at first. But to think that it’s losing $8-10k per unit, and also believe the $35k M3 will be profitable, defies logic. I don’t know if you’ve ever made that claim, so I’m speaking in general.

            As for the EV credits, my understanding is that GM has enough banked from the Spark EV to last quite a while. And, if the Bolt is just a compliance car, as you imply, wouldn’t it have made more sense to keep selling Sparks instead of developing the Bolt?

            I’m sure EV credits have something to do with the decision on how many Bolts to make? But GM also remembers that they could have made a great Hybrid years before Toyota, if only they had the will to do it. They’re not going to cede the field this time.

  5. bro1999 says:

    My Nov ’16 build Bolt has been rock solid so far, and I’ve explored the top and bottom of the HV battery extensively. Only problem I’ve had is when a metal pole in a parking garage jumped out and smashed the left rear bumper of my Bolt while my wife was driving………………..

    Shows even with extensive real world pre-production testing (like the Bolt went through), there can still be some minor hiccups. May want to say a prayer for the first wave of (non-employee) Model 3 owners though.

    1. ffbj says:

      Yeah, that’s marevelous somehow it’s Tesla’s problem that GM makes a faulty product.

      1. bro1999 says:

        It’ll be a problem for them soon enough.

        You can’t skip hundreds of thousands of miles of real world beta testing without consequences. This Bolt battery problem will look like nothing compared to what we’ll see once REAL Model 3 deliveries start.

        1. Zoomit says:

          You shouldn’t let your antagonism toward Tesla fanboys cloud your judgement toward Tesla technology.

          P.S. I don’t think the Tesla engineers rely on your prayers.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            It’s his short-selling investment in Tesla, and his resulting desperate hope that Tesla will fail, that’s causing his antagonism. His antagonism came before he started reading comments from Tesla fanboys… not after!

          2. Shane says:

            Oh come on, nothing fails like prayer!

        2. ffbj says:

          Well, 100 of thousands of miles of Beta testing did not seem to help with the Bolt battery pack failures we’re seeing.

          A flaw is a flaw, no matter how much you test it, it will still be a flaw.
          Inferior design requires redesign, not testing. Once you have identified a faulty component of a design, say like an ignition switch that fails, you should not continue to use, produce, and place that faulty product into your vehicles.

          Also saying, hey it only happens with a few 100 cars is not much consolation, if you are the one that stalls on the freeway and gets plowed into as car suddenly quits, (no limp mode).

          To be fair GM did not produce the pack.

          1. unlucky says:

            No one said anything about the car stalling on the road.

            Where did you get that from?

            1. Mark.ca says:

              “PluginCars’ Brad Berman experience this particular issue in his own personal Bolt, which left him stranded on at least one occasion. ”
              Where else would a car run out of juice?

              1. unlucky says:

                This article doesn’t say that he wasn’t given the chance to pull over. It just says the car stranded him.

                But yes, the source article does say he was stopped in the middle of the road. I should have read the source article.

          2. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

            Where are all the fanboys that kept correcting me and spewing that “GM designed the pack and power electronics but LG put it together for them”??????


            Bueller Bueller …..

            1. unlucky says:

              If you are interested in information then perhaps you would care to note that when a few packs fail it’s because of manufacturing variance. That would put the problem likely with the contract manufacturer.

              If you’re just looking to troll then carry on I guess.

              1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

                “when a few packs fail it’s because of manufacturing variance.”

                Let’s look at it percentage wise.

                I’m guessing Bolts sold to date is ~6400 and I’ll lowball to he11 that when they say a few hundred it’s 275 packs/cars.

                So the defect rate is ~43%.

                At 43% manufacturing variance (defect), there’s more than *variance* going on there.

                1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

                  damn, used the wrong numbers……lol
                  disregard. cut and paste got me good this time.

                  1. unlucky says:

                    There is a yellow button in the upper right of the page that links to the sales figures. So you don’t have to guess anymore.

                    It was 9500 start of this month, so it’s over 10,000 right now.

                    I did the math before and I find it hard to square GM’s figures completely, I admit. But it’s certainly not 43%.

                    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

                      My original figure was 11000.

                      Predicting Bolt sales at 2992 for August from the peeps that left the M3 line.

                2. Raymond Ramirez says:

                  Your math is wrong.

    2. WadeTyhon says:

      I’m sure the early Model 3 owners appreciate your genuine heartfelt concern. 😉

      1. bro1999 says:

        Especially coming from an agnostic person such as myself. 😀

        Hey, who knows. Maybe Elon and his super advanced computer simulation technology has managed to find all possible kinks the Model 3 could experience, and preemptively taken care of all of them without the need for all that real world testing. He is a pretty bright man afterall.

        1. Nick says:

          Yep, it’s too bad this is Tesla’s first car, and such a complex type of car as well. 😀

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “Maybe Elon and his super advanced computer simulation technology has managed to find all possible kinks the Model 3 could experience, and preemptively taken care of all of them without the need for all that real world testing.”

          That’s certainly more likely than the chance you’ll admit your actual motive for posting here; your motive for constantly attacking Tesla and bashing its cars.

  6. ffbj says:

    Poor battery pack design.

    1. SparkEV says:

      I KNEW some anti Chevy people saying crap like this. Things happen, especially early. There’s no cause for calling it “poor design”. I’m sure Tesla will have tons of issues early, just like it always did.

      Only thing “poor design” about Bolt battery is that it’s the slowest charging (in C rate) among any EV. Other than that, its robust and low cost TMS (similar to 2014 SparkEV) is done far better than the real poor design Leaf.

      1. Nick says:

        The LEAF pack has a very simple design.

        “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”* – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

        * Thermal degradation in hot climates notwithstanding. 🙂

        1. SparkEV says:

          Even a 7 year old making RC battery pack could put bunch of cells in an enclosed box. Hmm, I wonder if Leaf pack was designed by a 7 year old…

          1. Nick says:

            Agree that a 7 year old could make an RC pack.

            Obviously the LEAF pack is not just a bunch of cells in a closed box.

            1. CCIE says:

              I believe they did also stick a small fan in the box full of cells! Who needs a liquid TMS?!

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                I believe — or rather, think — that Nissan didn’t even do that.

                I think that Mitsubishi did.

            2. SparkEV says:

              Leaf pack is just bunch of cells in an enclosed box.

            3. JoeP says:

              That is a strange analogy.

              If a 7 yr old was to make thousands of packs that require thousands of spot welds, there would certainly be lots of problems.

              If automation is used, there will likely be early problems.

              Technology is a lot harder than it seems from the sidelines.

              1. Terawatt says:

                You can’t use spot welding on a battery pack, it’ll heat up too much. You need to go one further and use lasers.

      2. unlucky says:

        Slowest charging in C rate among any EV with DCFC (I believe).

        Any EV without a DCFC port is slower.

        1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

          That would be the Rav4 EV…….lol

        2. SparkEV says:

          I don’t consider EV without DCFC as cars, more like golf carts. Bolt on L2 is also the lowest C, but that matters little when charging overnight.

          By the way, since DCFC is only 25 kW when >70%, do you only get 25 kW regen when the battery is >70%? If you get strong regen at high %, something fishy is up with Bolt’s DCFC rate. They (management) might be slowing it down just to piss off people.

          1. bro1999 says:

            Nope, up to 90% SOC you can still regen up to 70 kW.

            Above 90% is when regen starts to get neutered.

            1. SparkEV says:

              Interesting. That means Bolt is capable of 70 kW all the way to 90%. Q is why isn’t it? 25 kW is over 6 times slower C rate than SparkEV. Seems _way_ too slow other than via “conspiracy”.

              1. unlucky says:

                SparkEV, no conspiracy. You see regen when you slow from speed, that takes around 20 seconds. Just because the car can regen for 20 seconds at 60kW (or whatever) doesn’t mean it can charge at 60kW. The amount of heat and chemical change caused in the pack could be something it can take only for a short period without significant damage piling up. For all we know if you tried to regen for an extended period at high SoC the car would simply disable or limit regen and make you use the friction brakes.

                Think of it similarly to Tesla’s limits on supercharging. If you supercharger your Model S too much they start to reduce the rate. All to limit accumulated damage to the pack.

                Is GM being over conservative with DCFC rates on the Bolt? Maybe. But suggesting there can be no explanation for this difference is going overboard.

                For what it matters I seem to get to full regen capability (at least in normal experience) at or above 95% SoC, not 90%.

                1. SparkEV says:

                  Even non-cooled Leaf is about 40 kW at 80%. Bolt with similar TMS as 2014 SparkEV charging 1/3 the C rate of non-cooled Leaf is very strange when SparkEV is almost double of Leaf.

                  It could be the chemistry, but 25kW is 0.4C. That’s slower than any LiIon battery I know, including cell phones, laptops. It’s hard to believe LG made 2.6C for SparkEV but only 0.4C chemistry for Bolt.

                  Only reason I see is that they are “conservative” to the point of being conspiratorial.

                  1. unlucky says:

                    You completely ignored everything I posted. And why?

                    Liquid cooling or not, a battery will be less damaged by something that is done for a short time than a long one. Regen only lasts a short time.

                    Thus there is no reason to think it would be treated the same as DCFC. And thus no reason to think that just because it is treated differently means there is a conspiracy.

                    Why is it a Bolt or Tesla has a max peak power output over short periods which cannot be sustained over longer periods? Both have liquid cooling. Could it be something to do with short bursts versus long periods? Nope. It must be a conspiracy.

    2. CCIE says:

      Do you think that somehow the people who made the rock-solid batteries in the Volt and 15-16 Spark EV forgot how to make batteries? Nope, they’re still the best.

      But stuff happens now and then. Good to see they’re on top of it.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but LG Electronics did not assemble the battery packs for the Volt, as they are doing for the Bolt EV.

        1. CCIE says:

          You are correct! The cells were LG Chem, but GM built the packs for the Volt and 15/16 Spark. The 14 Spark pack was built by A123.

      2. Casandra Sorenson says:

        Not sure how well they are dealing with it as I just had my one month old Bolt towed in with the message that the propulsion power is reduced and it stopped and wouldn’t even shift in a grocery store parking lot. It was towed in and when I asked what may be wrong with it the service department is not owning any problem with the Battery Pack or cells yet. And it seems since OnStar told me it had suffered catastrophic failure and would need towed they’d be able to tell me.

  7. georgeS says:

    “a metal pole in a parking garage jumped out and smashed the left rear bumper of my Bolt”

    Should be an easy fix since it is steel.

    I’m not looking forward to something like that happening on my Model S with it’s aluminum body.

    Another reason to switch to M3.

    1. bro1999 says:

      The bumper is actually made out of some kind of plastic material. Not any kind of metal anyways.

      1. unlucky says:

        No, the bumper is certainly metal. I’ve looked. I believe it is steel. It is a double box section bar under there.

        The bumper cap (fascia) is plastic.

        1. bro1999 says:

          Yeah, that’s what I meant. The fascia.

  8. HVACman says:

    It appears the Bolt pack problem is two-fold:

    1) Some packs are suffering cell failures.

    2) The Bolt’s diagnostic software is not detecting the failure and alerting the owner.

    I would expect that GM is researching both and that there will be some form of recall for at least some Bolts for both checking the pack cells and re-flashing the pack control module software.

    1. unlucky says:

      Many kinds of cell failures are hard to detect when the pack is charged. You have to discharge it. If customers only drive 30 miles in the day and charge the car every night it might be difficult to impossible for the pack monitoring system to detect the problem.

      Probably best to run your car down at least halfway once in a while to help detect bad cells.

    2. Raymond Ramirez says:

      The cell failures is LG’s responsibility. But the diagnostics is GM’s responsibility and actually more important.

  9. ffbj says:

    It’s something about complex systems and how they fail, and they will. It’s what you do about it that matters.

    Tesla is walking on a knife edge all the time, they can’t afford to be like GM & Ford, who are known for making crap.
    Fix or Repair Daily, etc…

    Still Tesla have made some real bone head decisions, and had some real complaints, fit
    & finish, early model motor milling, and fires…etc..

    My belief is if that had been run by the mentalities that run the legacy car companies, they would failed long ago, and instead of trying to fix various problems, installing shields to prevent road debris from damaging the batteries, they would have just ignored them, or downplayed them.

    Tesla’s employs a different methodology and attitude, they strive for perfection, while the legacy companies are just trying to get by.

    1. CCIE says:

      Oh come on! The Gen1 Volt was one of the best engineered vehicles ever made. Gen2 isn’t so overengineered, and had some issues the first year, but seems good to go now. So GM is clearly capable of solid engineering.

      Ford is also capable, and hopefully they’ll get into the EV game for real. FCA is…. well Chrysler reliability has always sucked, lol.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Well, Tesla certainly has been proactive in using OTA updates to correct problems where possible.

      But speaking as a Tesla fan, we should admit that there are some exceptions, when Tesla has stubbornly refused to deal with problems until there was so much negative press over them that they were forced to change their policy. Remember the early “bricking” problem with the Roadster? And what about Tesla’s resistance to adding safety measures to AutoSteer, measures to cause the car to shut down AutoSteer if the (non-)driver refused to take hold of the wheel when warned? Why did it take so much negative press about Autopilot/AutoSteer before Tesla finally implemented that safety measure?

      And what’s up with that ongoing “milling noise” problem in the Model S? Tesla claimed the problem was a slight misalignment between the motor and the reduction gear, and claimed to have fixed it by inserting shims to straighten the alignment. But altho reports of the problem became less frequent, they’re still coming up.

      Why hasn’t Tesla redesigned the parts in question, to actually fix the problem once and for all? Bill Howland said the real problem is the reduction gear isn’t robust enough; it needs to be beefed up. I don’t know if he’s right… but it seems to be a reasonable guess. Whatever the real problem is, it seems Tesla hasn’t actually dealt with it.

      Don’t get me wrong; overall, Tesla is worthy of effusive praise. But there are some notable black marks marring its overall exemplary record for dealing with problems promptly.

      1. Raymond Ramirez says:

        I see OTA “updates” as patches or fixes for problems not detected or investigated fully. I worked with all sizes of computers since 1972 (mainframes to microprocessors), with almost every O/S there is, and I do know what a “patch” is! I have dome many of them.

  10. bro1999 says:

    If you go to this GM parts website (https://www.gmpartsonline.net/auto-parts/2017/chevrolet/bolt-ev/lt-trim/electric-engine/electric-propulsion-system-cat/battery-scat), you can see there are 2 versions of the Bolt battery pack listed (“1st design” and “2nd design”).

    I wonder if a few battery packs of the “2nd design” had these faulty cells or whatever is causing the failures.

    1. bro1999 says:

      The pictures shown are for a VOLT, but based off the prices, those are definitely BOLT packs.

    2. unlucky says:

      Bolt owners, if you look under your car on the driver’s side below the B pillar (the thing the rear doors attach to) you can see the markings for your pack. It has the part number on it, you could tell if it is first or second gen.

      In case you care.

      1. bro1999 says:

        I have a Nov ’16 build, so I’m thinking I have the “1st design”.

        Interesting that the “2nd design” is a little pricier by several hundred dollars. I’ve also read there are a total of 4 part numbers for the Bolt EV battery pack. I wonder what is up with that.

        1. unlucky says:

          I have a Nov 2016 build too. And no notification. I also just checked the recall page and it said I have nothing.

          So I wonder how the distribution of bad packs is. Sounds like it isn’t just a problem where all the first gen packs are considered bad.

  11. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    “one or more of the cells malfunctioning and thereby providing a false reading of remaining range on the dashboard”

    Sounds like an LG issue with the manufacturing process of each cells and the BMS ~May~ also be an issue when a cell is in much more degraded state and was nor designed to handle this scenario.

    Anyway, LG will smooth it all out.

    EV growing pains………keep moving forward.

  12. Luke says:

    oooh can I get the pack with the bad cell? I’m sure they are gonna shred it.

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      I know right.

      We would like it for “Educational purposes”.


      1. Mark.ca says:

        The hell with the education, I want it to build my own powerwall…and not having to pay $6k.

    2. Raymond Ramirez says:

      The Bolt EV is too new for GM to sell the bad packs as scrap. GM will analyze and disassemble them to replace the bad cell, then reassemble for sale as “refurbished” for future pack replacements.

  13. Henry says:

    GM Comm Manager,Kelly, said the problem affects “fewer than a couple hundred customers.”

    He also said “the problem might affect less than one percent of early Bolt production models.”

    Does this imply that GM built more than 20000 “early producition” units ??

    Based on the actual number of Bolt sold (around 10K in the US over the last 8 months), I don’t know which “fact” to believe.

    1. bro1999 says:

      I’m wondering if they are considering “early production” as the Bolts initially delivered to CA and OR. With “later production” being the non-CA/OR states.

      The Bolt detailed in the story above was from OR. Assuming the CA/OR Bolts are “early production”, that’s probably around a couple thousand total. 1% of that is ~200.

      1. bro1999 says:

        Wait, that’s not right. 1% of 2,000 is 20.

        1. mxs says:

          Hey, be nice around here … LOL

        2. Raymond Ramirez says:

          Bro1999 id correct!

      2. Raymond Ramirez says:

        That is bad math! Would you allow the IRS to deduct you tax payment using your “math”?

  14. DJ says:

    My iPhone has a similar problem. Was notified last year and have up to 3 years since the sale date to get it replaced for free. Figured I would get more use out of it and beat it up in the mean time. Wonder if I you could do the same to your Bolt. Just drive and drive and then on some final date get it replaced. May as well extract whatever benefit from your old battery you can assuming you are ok with dealing with the possible side effect.

  15. ModernMarvelFan says:

    Sounds like a batch of “defective cells” that are causing this issue.

    Since Bolt uses much larger prismatic cells, a single cell failure can affect the range for sure.

    It is good that onStar routine check can find this problem.

  16. William says:

    The 2011/17 Chevronissan Boleaf! Can’t we launch a non Tesla EV in the US without the usual ICE OEM lameness!

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Regarding early production problems in a new model, we Tesla fans live in glass houses and shouldn’t be throwing stones.

  17. Bill Howland says:

    In the first 12,000 miles my battery has been fine, the problem I have is, as others noted, the center touch screen freezes – happened about 12 times in the past 1/2 year. Then sometimes the cabin fan stops, when the controls indicate that it is still on, but then restarts after 30 minutes all on its own.

    Going to the dealer today was a bit frustrating:

    1). No they never heard of the problem, but then they admittedly haven’t sold many BOLT evs (they have about THIRTY for sale in the parking lot – about triple the number of VOLTS).

    2). No the factory has no TSB’s (Technical Service Bulletins) on the problem – but the dealer said after checking with Detroit that certain engineers are aware of the issue.

    3). No exception codes are being generated by the on-board diagnostics.

    1. CCIE says:

      Check voltage on the 12V battery with the car off. I’ve seen Volts and Spark EVs do some strange things when the 12V battery gets flakey. It does seem early to see they in a Bolt, but who knows.

    2. unlucky says:

      That’s certainly real. I’m sure higher volume dealers are more aware of it. It’s happened to me also, but not twice a month!

      You don’t have to wait out the 30 minutes. Press and hold the home key (below and right of the power/volume knob) for like 15 seconds and it’ll reboot then.

      It’s clearly a software bug. I would like for GM to fix it. But no word yet. And yes, anyone who wants to try to say this is lame that the car has such a bug, you’ll get no quibble here. Indeed it is lame that the car has such a bug.

      GM has the ability to patch the infotainment system remotely (over the air updates) but does not appear to be doing so. Also lame.

    3. Ben Feinberg says:

      There is a TSB for this. I had it done a few weeks ago. 17-NA-071. They need to reflash your radio software if your car was produced before I think Feb 6 or March 6.

      1. unlucky says:

        Wow. No idea why they don’t send it over the air.

        But I’m up for it. Thanks for the tip.

        1. Ben Feinberg says:

          Agreed. I only learned about it because I used to read a Bolt users forum when I first got the car. Wasn’t annoying enough to bring in until the first free tire rotation. And absolutely they need to enable the OTA functionality already built in.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            I purchased my car on the 28th of February, so that is definitely prior to March 6th.

            Thanks for the info. I’ll send it on to my dealer.

            Does this correct the problem in full?

            1. Ben Feinberg says:

              You’re welcome. And your car was definitely built before February 6th if you took delivery that same month so this clearly applies to you. To answer your other question. Unfortunately yes, it actually froze again on me after this was updated. I guess I’ll need to bring it in again. But my experience is like yours. Dealers are clueless. I only got this done because I handed them the TSB and said I’m having this problem, do this fix.

  18. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I’ve gotten slammed pretty hard for suggesting there might be some problems with GM having LG Electronics’ brand-spanking-new automotive division make the entire EV powertrain for all the Chevy Volt EVs.

    Perhaps now people will be more willing to listen?

    Now, I don’t want to slam either GM or LG Electronics too hard. Tesla has had some problems with being a newbie in the field of auto manufacturing, too. There were several early problems with both the Tesla Roadster and the Model S that had to be worked out during production.

    It would have been surprising, at least to me, if LG Electronics didn’t have similar “growing pains”.

  19. Nix says:

    An issue limited to a few battery cells in just 200 cars? That’s a rounding error in production. They will take care of it with minimal effort.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  20. Dave86 says:

    Kudos to GM for being on top of this.

    Too bad Nissan didn’t handle their battery problems like GM is.

    I’d much rather buy GM than Nissan.

  21. JohnL says:

    My Bolt has been great (love it), but my buddy’s Bolt’s battery failed several times and had to be replaced. The questions now are: Is the number really of faulty Bolt batteries really ‘less than a couple hundred?’ What exactly went wrong? How was it fixed? Here’s hoping its good news.

  22. unlucky says:

    I just come up with a theory. Maybe a crazy one.

    I mentioned above it is difficult to find bad cells in a pack if you never discharge the pack very far.

    What if the people who are being notified are people who have never discharged their pack far enough to test for bad cells? I didn’t get a message despite having an old Bolt but I’ve driven my car over 200 miles on a charge before.

    Maybe the packs simply were not properly tested for deep discharge and GM is just calling in cars which haven’t been deep discharged in the field?

    Or maybe not. Maybe I’m just making up stuff.

  23. Syd says:

    I’m surprised that a single ‘battery’ (battery 25 failure) can take the pack out. What is the redundancy in the pack? Is this an issue with the larger pouch cells vs. many more small cylindrical cells?

Leave a Reply