UPDATE: Mary Barra Says GM Has Never Replaced A Volt Or Bolt Battery

Chevy Bolt EV battery pack

JAN 18 2019 BY WADE MALONE 173

Mary Barra talks plant closures, autonomy and electric vehicles.

Update 1/18/2019: General Motors has clarified recent statements made by CEO Mary Barra. The original remarks were made intending to refer to battery degradation / “wear out” due to age and regular use in normal conditions. 

As we suggested in our original article, there have in fact been batteries replaced in part or whole due to defects. We speculated that the statement was instead referring to battery degradation. We believed it was very unlikely that she was suggesting zero batteries had ever been replaced under any circumstances, and a GM representative confirmed this was not her intent.

Upon further review, the automaker also clarified that there has been a much smaller number of batteries that were replaced specifically due to abnormally high “suspected wear out” / degradation. So far, these cases account for less than .01% of plug-ins sold by the automaker.

Here is the complete clarification provided by a representative from GM:

Wednesday night at Automotive News World Congress, Mary Barra referenced the more than 200,000 electric vehicles General Motors has sold. She stated that General Motors has yet to replace a battery pack. The intent behind Mary’s original statement was in reference to the wear out of a battery due to regular use. Upon further review, an estimated less than 0.01% of customer battery packs or sections have been replaced due to suspected wear out. Additionally, we have replaced battery packs or sections due to defects.  

General Motors remains focused on the quality of its EV batteries, and our technical team continues to pioneer development of sustainable battery technology for electric vehicles.

Our original article is posted below:

On Wednesday, General Motors’ CEO Mary Barra sat down with KC Crane for an interview at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. GM had been taking a lot of heat in recent weeks over their decision to idle 4 U.S. plants and discontinue several low selling vehicles.

All plants are set for closure following negotiations with the United Automobile Workers union. Among the models cut was the popular Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid. Barra used the interview to address the plant closures. She also laid out more of her vision for the future of electric and autonomous vehicle development.

According to Barra, the automaker had to make the decision to cut their losses. Most of the plants on the chopping block had been operating at 30-40% of their capacity for several years. It was important that the automaker “outperform the cycle.” Especially ahead of possible economic downturn and a period of rapid technological change. Barra believes that GM needed to begin a transformation while the economy was still strong.

Chevrolet Bolt

Autonomy and Electricity

During the talk, she re-iterated the importance of re-positioning Cadillac as a technological leader. GM plans to accomplish this by making Cadillac the automaker’s premiere EV brand. Cadillac is expected to launch their electric crossover as a 2021 or 2022 model. But she has confirmed that Chevrolet and other nameplates will continue to see new EV product.

On the autonomous front, Barra says new Cruise Automation CEO Dan Ammann is especially passionate about self driving tech. They believe there is “room for personal autonomous vehicles” in the future. However, Cruise is currently focused on launching a consumer ride sharing company. Barra also denied rumors of Cruise being spun off into it’s own IPO, saying they want to keep EV and AV development “under one roof.”

One interesting statement made was that the automaker has never replaced a battery pack. According to Automotive News:

Since Automotive News has not yet provided the full transcript or video, the context for this statement is unknown. If taken at face value, this does not sound correct. Some Bolt EV owners claimed to receive fresh packs after a battery recall early last year. Although the majority of owners simply received a software update to alert them if an issue occurred.

Naturally, at least some battery packs have been replaced under warranty due to this or other defects. However, her statement almost certainly references battery degradation. Battery packs from General Motors and Tesla have far outlasted projections at the start of this decade. Chevrolet has previously stated that the Chevy Volt has had a whopping zero Volt batteries replaced due to “general capacity degradation.” Unfortunately, not all automakers can make this claim.

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Cadillac, Chevrolet, General

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173 Comments on "UPDATE: Mary Barra Says GM Has Never Replaced A Volt Or Bolt Battery"

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Not much content.

Yeah upper management, especially Ms. Barra at GM, seem expert at talking all day yet saying nothing. They mostly seem to want to leave investors with a ‘good feeling’ about the company.

The 200,000 cars and not one replacement is discounted by our own Sean M. here who had his ELR pack replaced, therefore she shows herself to have no scruples – not surprising when she is closing Canadian Plants without even paying back all the money the Canadian Feds, and Ontario Province loaned them when they were hurting; its no surprise she so freely LIES.

The one thing they do actually do, is copy their peer’s actions – so since Mark Farley is making electrified trucks, so will Mary – even though they vehemently deny ever doing so now. They won’t sit idly by and watch market share evaporate all the way over to Ford.

Of course. The volt buyers won’t substantially go for the BOLT, they’ll buy the Clarity and Prius Prime.

It is not the higher managements duty to produce stories for you. IEVs mass production authors are to blame for these vacuum filled stories.
Tom Mologhney as an rare example does only publish articles with some quality in it. I think his articles are that much better because he does not write them for the money.

Clickbaiting, articles with no other content than a link to a video, pure opinion puff pieces etc have become a real problem on here.

It’s funny you say that as the CEO of a public companies, most important jobs, is selling a narrative to wall street/investors.

Uh, no, the CEOs most important job is actually running the company…

Another Euro point of view

In theory yes.

Actually that’s the job of the COO Chief Operating Officer. CEO’s just point fingers and sometimes talk

Many (most?) companies do not even have a COO.

And your description fits pretty much any management position…

Nope! antrik has it 100% right; In our national casino, aka: The Stock Market, The CEOs job is to make the expected Wall Street numbers or else they are Toast, especially if the company has been around for a while and has an established record of making profits.

So true. I take GM as a grain of salt. True what trump said there’s fake news

Believe it or not, they actually cull articles at IEVs. They also run articles late often because they have other stories with greater importance. I favor Tom’s work and George Bower, David Murray, Eric Cote, and others work too. All of them are writing from a point of passion where they can take their time and IEVs provides a platform for that too. I also enjoy comments like those posted by Bill Howland, Viking79, etc. Mark, Wade, Eric, and Steven’s job is to piece through the plethora of EV news today and post what is relevant in one convenient site. Wade has also taken on Jay Cole’s responsibility for posting the monthly report which means he sleeps less than the others. I do empathize in that I am both retired and an EV junkie, but still don’t care for the volume of stories. So given the choice of less and more through articles vs more under 800 words, it is what makes IEVs the go-to site that it is and why I still prefer it over any other.

Hey Mark – Honorable mention also goes to Pushi since I tried to get Jonathan to give him a job at Tesla – unfortunately they’re laying off thousands per today’s news so apparently just now isn’t the right time.

Ok so it no surprise that for a majority of my content I use for my EV Revolution Show come from IEVs. Great site! I like most of what they put up. However I am noticing a trend of IEV beginning to use “National Enquirer” type headlines for catching click bait. Some of the quality of stories are suspect and some of this “plethora of news” they actually print is really crap and a down right waste of time. I enjoy IEV for their unbiased approach to most manufacturers, however it’s more recent but I am seeing more Tesla favouritism coming out and I believe it’s to support more clicks. I get it as your business model is based on click. Because of this, It’s a simple fact that you can pretty well print anything with the word “Tesla” in the title and that will get hits. At least they are nowhere as bad as Fred and Electrek. At any point in time you will see 7 or 8 of the stories running on his site that are Tesla related. I stopped going there a long while back because I could not take such one-sided reporting. Hey I guess when… Read more »

Tom’s pretty good – except when he does ads for which he receives no money – as a for instance – one Canadian wall box maker (can’t mention the name otherwise they’ll pull the comment)., which per Tom is better than sliced bread – but then a week later he does the TOP 5 wall boxes and the ‘received no money for’ product isn’t even mentioned.

They must not have received enough “received no money for” it.

Some history to this quote, GM has replaced batteries due to failures, but not due to general cell degradation according to the last time I saw similar. My guess is that nuance didn’t make it to Mary (or whomever is quoting her). Even the Volt that had well over 150,000 EV miles showed almost no degradation, amazing really given that it had about 5,000 cycles on it.

Look how few stories there are on capacity loss in the Bolt EV? They have produced over 50,000 cars and just a handful of stories, most related to cell balancing bug (it wasn’t happening).

I’m not sure how conclusive these claims are.

The Volt — like other hybrids — probably has a large capacity buffer, that mostly hides degradation?

And the Bolt is just too new to get a good idea how it holds up in the long run.

Having said that, the evidence so far gives rise to optimism 🙂

The volt and I assume the bolt have large capacity buffers as you call them, but not to hide degradation.

They reserve the top and bottom 20% of the pack specifically to maintain the longevity of the battery. Go look it up, lithium batteries ideally live their entire life cycling between 75 and 80% charge. But failing that, never charging over 80 and never going below 20 SIGNIFICANTLY increases their lifetime charge retention.

Most EVs also don’t have as good a cooling system for their battery packs. Air-cooling just isn’t good enough.

GM did way more engineering on battery life than basically all the other manufacturers and it shows. The sad thing is it doesn’t matter because they went and got rid of their best middle ground car they had.

I am very well aware that the real purpose of the capacity buffer is to extend cycle life. (Though the numbers you cited are rather arbitrary…) That doesn’t change the fact that it can hide some capacity loss at the same time.

I am pretty sure they don’t hide the degradation, but rather keeping that large buffer makes the battery less stressed when you cycle it so it lasts much longer. It also uses a less energy dense chemistry that might last longer. Many of these PHEV batteries should be able to last 5,000 to 10,000 cycles without much degradation.

I’ve red some reports from an Opel Ampera (1st gen Volt in Europe) owner who was using a diagnostics tool to read the car’s internal numbers which showed that the car was in fact using the buffer to conceal the degradation. Mainly, the buffer was used to hide the difference in battery capacity between summer and winter, but eventually due to degradation the car had to show reduced capacity in winter.

Can you provide a reference do those reports? Differences in summer vs winter usable capacity can be influenced by a variety of factors independent of degradation, including ambient temp and temp fluctuations, battery thermal management, climate control use, etc.

If my Volt (almost 7 years old with nearly 160k miles and over 140 EV miles) is hiding any meaningful amount of degradation (as in 10% or more) it’s not hiding it in the battery buffer, since the software won’t let the car charge above 88% and any time it goes below 20%, it’s programmed to go into reduced propulsion mode and/or turn on the engine, because below that state of charge the battery can’t deliver the 111 kWh the Volt needs for full acceleration. So it’s got nowhere to “hide” – my car still indicates 9.2 to 9.6 kWh used on a full depletion, well within 10% of its original spec.

Maybe the degradation is being hidden in that extra storage area under the hatch floor panel, there’s a little space in there, I’ll check it…jk

Volt buyers will purchase the fugly Clarity and Prime? I’m sure a small fraction will, but the vast majority will not buy those fugly eyesores. I’m willing to bet more would convert to a Bolt than the fuglies from Honda and Toyota.

Bolt isn’t exactly a beauty queen. Every time I see Honda Fit, I can’t help but think if Bolt is a rounder copy, like the 2004+ Prius and Tesla X are rounder copies of Pontiac Aztek.

The Volt owners who are looking for a new vehicle will gravitate towards another plug in, but I don’t think the Bolt will get many of them. The Volt is an attractive 4 seat sedan and the Bolt is an ugly 5 seat hatch. I just don’t see the match up working.
I think a lot of us Volt owners will be buying non-GM plug in cars in the next several years. I love my 2013 Volt but it will probably be a Model Y for me in 3 or 4 years. The good thing is that there are a lot of new choices hitting the market in the next couple years.

I went 2012 Volt -> 2014 ELR -> 2018 Model 3 Performance.

Agreed, GM had a high rate of conquest buyers on the Volt, but what they forget to realize is if you fail to provide a solution to those conquest buyers in the future, they will just as quickly jump to something else. They aren’t brand loyal buyers, but you might be able to convert them.

Tesla by definition is a conquest brand. Yes, many thousands of Model 3s are repeat buyers, but 10s of thousands of them are conquest sales, and that is going to continue for a long time. GM needs to respond to Tesla, not improve the Volt, and they are doing that now (by the sounds of it).

I have a Bolt and ELR. When the ELR is at the end of its practical life – I can’t (if present conditions hold) replace it with another BOLT. I’d have no easy way to go on vacation. I would HAVE to buy either a Prius Prime or else a Clarity.

I suspect many people are of the same mindset.

Especially when the base model is available Volt buyers would likely go for the Tesla Model 3 for their next vehicle seeing as how the volt gave them an appetizer of what driving an EV is like.

As a Volt owner for the last 6 years, my next vehicle will be all electric. The range and charging networks keep getting better, so I see no need for another plug in with an ICE. I am keeping an open mind at this point as to which one. I really like the Rivian R1T (except the price).

I think in general most people really don’t mind the looks of either of those cars. Maybe in certain enthusiast boards. I think most Volt owners will go to something like a Model 3, some are GM fans and probably hoping for a different GM PHEV (not likely now), and the rest aren’t brand loyal and will jump to whatever other PHEV is available and fills their needs (Clarity PHEV for example). However, the Volt market is actually very small so it really is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

Tastes differ: I have owned 2 VOLTS but I think the Clarity is the more attractive product when compared to the Volt – when comparing the insides of the car where I spend most of my time. The inside of the prius prime is also not bad.

There are really so few ev models worth buying that you can’t be too critical about things.

Tesla does well since their products look nice plus they have performance and large batteries – not the dinky stuff the Germans have, as a for instance, until recently.

No,I’m not going to buy a Honda or Toyota.after owning a Volt.

you’re talking about Musk, right?

Of course. The volt buyers won’t substantially go for the BOLT, they’ll buy the Clarity and Prius Prime.
Wait, what?
I was with you til you said that.
Find it hard to believe there are many used Volts traded for any Toyota, and only a few Clarity.

This won’t happen until there are no more Volts available. Until then, people will buy up what is left.

I believe some Volt owners would rather buy used Volt than go with Prime. I don’t know a single person who would go that directly at my work which has over 14 Volt owners.

We do have 3 Clarity PHEV onsite but they were all former Honda owners who never really considered Volt to start with.

I know that my work place buying habit won’t represent the entire country, but I think most Volt owners won’t “step down” in EV performance and EV range when choosing the next PHEV. They may “upgrade” to something larger or more capable such as Pacifica PHEV or Outlander PHEV. But they would hardly downgrade.

We will see.

Primes way too slow, 10+ to 60.

Volt is 7.1-7.5 depending whose testing.

“she is closing Canadian Plants without even paying back all the money the Canadian Feds, and Ontario Province loaned them”

Is that true? They haven’t paid back the “loaned” money?

Speaking as a gen. 1 Volt owner and for my friends who have bought gen. 1 Volts they have no interest in either the Clarity or Prius Prime. They are looking to buy a full electric car as their next car (mostly looking at Tesla, BMW, or another luxury EV model), nor are they really looking to buy the Bolt after the experiences they have had dealing with incompetence at GM dealerships. (The upside to Volt ownership is that I spent very little time at a dealership service department though). The Volt is the stepping stone to full EV ownership and it makes a compelling argument for it. The Bolt is a good car as well but GM seems to be at a loss in terms of how to market and promote either car. It’s a shame because GM (when motivated) has shown it can produce decent electric cars, regardless of name plate (Saturn, Opel, Chevrolet, Cadillac, or otherwise). I think GM is living in a fantasy to believe that Cadillac is going to be a leader in EV technology; they lost that battle back in 2012 when Tesla introduced the Model S to the world and when they tried… Read more »

That’s great Mary, but your leases suck. And the dealer experience is exactly like it was many many years ago. Where is your small BEV SUV you could be building in one of the five plants you’re about to close⁉️⁉️

Why would the want to retool one of these mostly idle factories, when they have enough other plants to go around?…

I’d settle for them moving the SUV production back from Mexico. For example the Chevy Equinox, GMC Terrain, and Chevy Trax. A big reason the US plants are underutilized is because of moving manufacturing to Mexico last year. https://carbuzz.com/news/the-largest-automaker-in-mexico-is-american

I wish I could embed the compilation video of Trump saying “China”, to answer your question.

” but your leases suck”
What leases? Volt and Bolt have the best ev leases right now.

If you say so.

Go to their website.

They are ridiculously bad.

i had my battery replaced last year due to degradation on my ELR. the pack lasted only 4 years. GM was nice enough to replace it.

“Nice enough to replace it”. That’s being overly generous to them, since YOU PAID for this coverage with the 8 year, 100,000 mile voltec warranty you paid extra for in the purchase price.

Does that warranty cover capacity degradation?…

Yes GM warranty does cover degradation. Though at such a new car with low miles this is almost certainly a cell failure.

Yes, voltec warranty does cover degradation. Though it has to be pretty severe. (This example sounds like a faulty pack, not battery degradation – there was a recent recall regarding a software update to fix the battery balancing system. If this car wasn’t balancing the cells on charge maybe it had a worst case scenario where some cells were overcharged and some undercharged regularly.)

Sounds like an actual fault, not battery degradation.

Yes – in the BOLT ev it is 40%. Of course, they are only required to give you a junk battery somewhat better than the one that triggered the warranty replacement.

So Sean, what was your All Electric Range both when you obtained your ELR, and what was it just prior to battery replacement? How horrible a replacement battery did they ‘give’ you and how many AER do you have now? Thanks.

NO offense guys – but what a bunch of DOPES we have on here. 3 demerits since I’m not allowed to ask someone questions. You guys should join the STASI in East Germany. What’s that? Doesn’t exist any more? Wrong, it is here instead.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

The downvotes were for the tone of your questions.
Why “How horrible”? Why did you quote “give”?

OH man what a thin-skinned splitting hairs ignoramus. Congratulations on being the Big Frog in the little pond this week.

when i bought it, it was 37, after 4 years of everyday charging and using it, it went down to 28 but it would lose the 28 very fast,, maybe in 18 or 20. then GM replaced it with NEW pack and now i get 37 same as the day i bought it. thanks to GM for standing behind their product and warranty

OH ok you lucked out. It was nice of them to give you a new or almost new battery. Legally, they didn’t have to.

4 demerits for a factual comment. Getting to be more the norm here lately.

So is Mary Barra publicly lying about not a single one replacement?

I think we can say is that either she is or Sean is. I know where my money is.

“That particular issue was a pentacular flaw in the lattice network of the cerulean device. It was not a battery degradation issue, per se, rather it was a quality control issue that we missed in all 17 of our post manufacturing QC inspections. We stand behind our product. So we fined the dealership that authorized the pack replacement.”
Mary Barra

Haha ha ha ur funni

Yeah, that sounds like some of Pam Fletcher’s pig latin ‘REACTIONARY FORCES’ that made all the engineers in the room cringe.

I have all the Docs.
Also I see lot of people are talking about miles. I am not an expert but I know this from experience that it is NOT the number of miles , it is the number of times you charge the battery.
So I charged mine everyday for 4 years going to work. sometimes used it all and sometimes not.
GM put a NEW battery pack in my ELR. I am getting full range like the first day I bought it. So GM stood behind their product and for that I am grateful.

The article points out that they didn’t have the context to go along with the comment.

Was it degradation, or some other fault though? Like failure of a cell or something?

His battery was not replaced due to “general degradation” at 31k miles. Hell, I bet Gen 1 Leafs didn’t even degrade to the point they were eligible to be replaced under warranty after just 31k miles!
Sean most definitely had some other failure that would not be categorized as “general battery degradation”.

Yet going by this theory, could any degradation even at 100K be blamed on “some other failure” such as a module? How hard would it be for the first GM dealer to enter a general degradation claim? Wouldn’t be surprisingly that GM Corp could change the claim to “some other failure”…

On the Bolt degradation for warranty is 40%. That’s a big number to get in less than 100k. My pack seems to be down to about 50kwh now at 35k. Hard to tell exactly how far it’s down without doing s complete discharge/charge cycle as there is no battery health like on a leaf. My brothers is down to 55-57 after about 30k.

That actually sounds a bit worse than typical degradation on Tesla batteries… Which is surprising, considering that GM is using the generally more robust NMC chemistry, and the thermal management should be pretty decent too…

Bolt driver: I had THOUGHT my battery was down to about 52 kwh after 37,000 miles, but now I found out that I just hadn’t let the thing do a cell equalization – so I let it charge up FULLY twice, and the first time got 57.4 kwh out of it and the second time as best as I can guesstimate it 57.55 kwh.

The brand new rating of this battery is 60 kwh (I measured 59.9 kwh), and long term (per the battery labels) 57 kwh. So if after more than 37k the battery is at its ‘rated’ long term capacity, I’m not complaining.

So make sure you do a few COMPLETE 100% charges and let the CAR shut off your wall box befor unplugging it so that it can do cell equalizations after the main charging is done.

2 demerits for factual testing results and then clarification for readers in case they want to ‘try this at home’. Is this just the same malcontents over and over again flagging factual commentary?

re: bet Gen 1 Leafs didn’t even degrade to the point they were eligible to be replaced under warranty after just 31k miles

Actual, in Arizona and some other hot climates they have in as little as ~20k miles (dropped below 70% capacity, lost 4 battery bars), brutal heat related damage.

As for you first part of your comment, spot on.

it was not holding the charge any more, I call it degradation. of course if you read the fine print they expect up to %40 loss after 4 years.

I see everyone talking about millage . it is not what I have seen on any of my plugins.
So important point to everyone. I am not an expert but I know this from experience that it is NOT the number of miles , it is the number of times you charge the battery.
So I charged mine everyday for 4 years going to work. sometimes used it all and sometimes not.
GM put a NEW battery pack in my ELR. I am getting full range like the first day I bought it. So GM stood behind their product and for that I am grateful.

i do not think it has to with miles. i think it is the number of time i charged my ELR battery. so each battery can only be charged certain number of time in a given time. so i drove 31k but charged and used it 4 years everyday. we can do the math.

“…we have yet to replace a battery pack.”

“Since Automotive News has not yet provided the full transcript or video, the context for this statement is unknown. If taken at face value, this does not sound correct.”

Yeah, that can’t be right. Nor do I think Ms. Barra is the sort of person to try to tell such an obvious, Trumpian lie. Perhaps her comment was quoted out of context?

Maybe what she actually meant to say is that they haven’t had a recall of batteries yet… Which would be a very different statement 🙂

Almost certainly she was talking about batteries replaced under warranty due to general battery degradation.

SATIRE…GM: “There’s no such thing GM degradation, we always code those as a bad module”…

That reads like a reasonable interpretation, thanks.

GM did put a surprisingly large amount of reserve capacity into the Voltec 1.0 battery pack, and they benefited from that with less strain on the pack, leading to longer battery life. So that’s one example of why Voltec 1.0 was so robust, and had so few reported problems.

* * * * *
Nothing to do with your comment above, Bro1999, but it’s somewhat bizarre seeing people asserting here that GM didn’t hide the degradation of the Volt battery pack. Of course they did! No Volt to date is showing any less range than it did when it was new. (Altho I understand a few Volts with high mileage are reporting some loss of power, which is likely a sign of decreased battery pack capacity.)

Unless GM found some magic way to prevent normal loss of capacity over time, due to cycling and natural aging, then absolutely the packs are losing capacity every year. Since they are showing no loss of range, then it’s a perfectly straightforward logical conclusion that they are hiding the loss of capacity.

I don’t see that any other conclusion is possible in the real world.

There are batteries on the market that can take 10s of thousands of cycles, they generally aren’t suited to BEVs (lower energy density, less range). I find it silly that they would try to hide the battery capacity anyway. Hybrid batteries are designed for 50,000 cycles or more. The Volts show some range loss, but think it is very minor and mostly in the first year or so. I think there has been zero evidence to support hiding the range drop on the Volt, it was pure speculation to begin with. Please point to something that says otherwise.

For evidence, see the reported for Clarity PHEV cells

They show 50,000 cycle life at 55C cycled 10-85% SoC, according to their chart. They show a fairly rapid drop to 90% SoC, then after that very flat. 5000 hours is maybe 200,000 miles. Someone correct me if I am wrong, can’t read all the language on the charts.

50,000 full cycles for any Li-Ion cell would be a ridiculous claim; you can only get such numbers using *extremely* shallow cycles — which is the case for HEVs, but less so for PHEVs.

Under normal circumstances, a couple thousand cycles are realistic for some Li-Ion cell types.

Note that nobody says the car is hiding a range drop. People are saying it’s using a buffer hiding a certain amount of capacity drop.

“I find it silly that they would try to hide the battery capacity”
You said it right there in your text: “They show 50,000 cycle life at 55C cycled 10-85% SoC” If the Volt battery claimed performance was based on 10-85%SOC, then they were hiding the 25% SOC from you.

Loss of power doesn’t indicate capacity loss, but rather increase in internal resistance. Both are caused by degradation, but not necessarily at the same pace.

They are not losing meaningful usable capacity though yet. Think of it this way, if there has always been, by design, “an inch of sand” at the bottom of your 12 ounce “cup” which only ever are allowed to put 8 ounces in, and now a half inch of the top of the cup has worn off over time, has your ability to drink the same 8 ounce at a time been “degraded”?

And anyhow, the point is that no known replacements due to degradation have occurred. It’s basically a statement that the battery has been engineered to perform consistently for the typical life of the car, an automotive grade engineered product. That should be celebrated not nitpicked, and considering the serious problems some other brands have shown, it should be the automotive standard for PEVs.

“Trumpian lie”

And you know she’s affiliated with Trump how? Every country on the planet that claim to be socialist turn poorer and poorer and people suffer while socialists continuously lie to the populace about prosperity. If you’re going to link lying sack of s politician, it’s the politicians that want socialism.

I did not intend in any way to imply that she is affiliated, personally or politically, with the Orange One. I was merely using the Orange Wannabe Dictator as an example of the very worst sort of compulsive liar; one who doesn’t even care that people know he constantly lies.

The worst sort of compulsive liars are socialists, yet you bring up DUMP. There are two very prominent socialist liars to choose from in US today, not to mention dozens around the world and hundreds in history (in fact, every single socialist is/was a liar). They are by far the worst liars than DUMP can ever hope to be.

Yeah, Germany is going oh so poorly.

It’s not black and white. There are thousands of shades.

Our shade is socialism for the businesses and rich. Dog eat dog for the rest.

That could be true. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have defective cells occasionally.

I have seen them repairing certain Volt battery pack. The dealer basically replaced one of the defective cell inside the pack. And I have only seen 1 in the last 8 years.

One or two packs have been replaced here in Finland due to cooling system issues.

That’s a lie, mine was replaced.

Share some details…

Volt or Bolt, and what was degradation, yrs used, miles driven?

Mine was replaced as well. At around 30k miles, my 2012 Volt had a fault code for battery coolant level low. When I took it in, they replaced the battery pack. At that point I had no degradation in mileage.

So your battery wasn’t replaced due to general degradation, there was some other failure which required replacement.

So what? The point is that it was replaced.

Can you please give more information? People reading this thread are interested!

Well, could be true…in a sense. They had to rebuild my 2012 Volt pack and my coworker just got nothing for his 2013 Volt with 120+K miles on a trade in because his pack died out of warranty. I like my Volt a lot for the 2 years I drove it but it was a disaster for my wife after that. A neighbor down the street had a ton of problems with their first gen Volt as well. Not all were manufacturing issues. Our local Volt dealers were terrible with service which added insult to injury. I think the Volt concept was great and for the time frame they had to develop it, the engineers did a great job. The vision of the product managers that made the decisions on what parameters to design for (size of car, power of the drivetrain, class of vehicle, etc) is where GM fell down. Gen 2 should have been capable of more power, they should have offered a true 5 seat sedan, CUV, and perhaps small pickup. Should have offered power out via generator to be able to power your house in an emergency, a jobsite, or other. Could have stayed with similar… Read more »

How did the 2013 battery die out of its 8 year volttec warranty in 2019?

Even if he bought in 2012 the MY13 car it should STILL be covered till 2020.

Was this perhaps a *gasp* lie on the internet? Or perhaps it wasn’t the battery that died at all?

Battery warranty is 8 years/100,000 miles. So if it had 120,000 miles on it, there’s nothing warrantied on the car.

ding, ding, ding

So, Koz… I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it seems that you are suggesting Ms. Barra’s statement “We haven’t replaced any Volt or Bolt EV battery packs” is only technically true; that they rebuilt them rather than replacing them. Or at least, that’s what I infer from your comment; I don’t know if that’s what you meant to imply.

But several comments posted here indicate that this isn’t true, even technically; that GM did actually replace some battery packs in Volts and Bolt EVs.

What I said were the experiences I had and other owners I know personally had. The story and Ms. Barra’s comments said there were no battery pack replacements as an indication of the Volt packs longevity and trouble free operations. Perhaps they hadn’t replaced a pack in warranty but rebuilt many but I can’t speak to that personally, other than what I’ve read on EV and Volt forums. It was disingenuous or later clarified as clumsy to speak about reliability of their packs in this manner.

Not replacing the pack under warranty due to capacity degradation is plausible.

SparkEV needs 35% degradation before warranty kicks in. Seeing how it was only about 10% loss after 3yr/30K miles and hundreds of DCFC in “hell hole” temperatures, I suspect Volt would do even better due to inability to abuse (like draining to 1%).

Bolt is too new to have much degradation. Let’s see how it’ll do after 4 years (half way to warranty). But if SparkEV is any indication and combined with gentle use (DCFC less than 1C compared to 2.6C to 3C for SparkeEV), Bolt will do quite well.

There has yet to be a Volt to have its battery replaced due to “general degradation”. In fact, it is almost impossible to find a Volt owner that has experienced ANY degradation, let alone to the point of warranty replacement. There is a Volt that is approaching half a million miles on the odometer, and it’s still going strong. And last I heard, the owner said he still gets the same kWh out of the battery compared to when it was brand new.

The jury is still out on the Bolt, but based on my personal observations and after reading this article (https://insideevs.com/chevrolet-bolt-battery-lost-capacity-70000-miles/), odds are a Bolt’s battery will never be replaced under warranty for “general degradation” either.

I tend to agree. Reading many comments above, it seems people attribute to no replacement, period. But what I read is no replacement under warranty due to degradation.

Turd Leaf is a given, and we know Tesla had few (thanks to unlimited miles), not sure if there were any others that had the battery replaced under warranty due to degradation.

My 2012 Volt has experienced battery degradation, which is viewable using a VCX-Nano and GDS2 software.

I had the dreaded “Propulsion Power Reduced” issue and GM loaded a special firmware that reduced my usable battery from 10kwh to 9kwh. That masks the degradation issue, but they really should have replaced the pack. I was within 300 miles of my battery warranty expiring, so I didn’t have much room to fight them on it. And, the car has over 110k miles and still runs well, so no major complaints.

Isn’t 110K miles out of warranty?

It had 99,700 miles at the time they reprogrammed HPCM2 to lower the usable battery percentage. It has over 110,000 now.

While I don’t have major complaint and still like the car, GM’s “fix” to the issue left a bad taste in my mouth. Those of us who bought Volts before the 2013 price drop essentially prepaid for a replacement battery. GM should have just given it to me instead of reducing my EV range.

Pack replacement is generally considered warranted when the capacity drops below 70% of original capacity, general also considered to be end of automotive life (though some non-GM cars cars are still going with ~50% capacity). Was/is yours that low? going from 10 to 9 kWh usable would seem to me to only be 10% degradation, check my math.

I suppose it depends on how you look at it. Most battery warranties are so vague that the car company can do what they want. My Gen1 Volt started with a 16kwh battery and 10kwh usable. Now it’s an 11kwh battery with 9 usable. Seems like enough total degradation to justify replacement.

Yes ! She’s never “personally” had to replace a Volt Or Bolt battery pack & I don’t think she will ever need to do so . lmao . .. * 🙂 *

Barra is the best CEO GM has had since the ’50s.

I Think All GM Past, Present & Future CEO’s Were/Are “The Best” ..Yes.. The Best at Looking after their Own Best Interest !

The bar here is pretty low. A few of the short timers were probably all right – but then they weren’t around long enough to be either really good or bad.

She’s no Gwen Shotwell that’s for sure ! * 🙁 *

We have 73,000 miles on our MY2012 Chevy Volt. About 50,000 electric and 30,000 due to long trips. We started experiencing a scenario this summer that when driven on gas and left to sit in the summer sun for an hour or more we would get a propulsion error which would cause the engine to rev to replenish the battery and only allow you to drive at reduced speeds for about 10 minutes until the pack was replenished. When we took it in for service the SOC was at 91%. Their remedy was to program out some of the battery range to make up for the 9% loss. They left us with another issue that now there is no instant torque upon acceleration. Imagine an EV without instant torque. That stinks! Talking to the GM specialist as we speak to see what the issue is. Either way, it will be going back in for service. All in all, it has been a great car though. This is primarily the only issue in 7 years/73,000 miles and it still was driveable. I think it cost me $100+ to get it serviced (so far since still an acceleration issue) so the glass… Read more »

That propulsion error is due to the degradation of the battery pack. When battery degrades, capacity is only one of the signs. The one is internal resistance goes up or when current demand is high, the voltage drops faster and further than normal.

So, the Voltec algorithm is programmed in such way that when battery voltage drops too far or too fast, it indicates that it needs more engine power. And engine power is limited so when you floor the car, the propulsion can’t keep up the demand.

Opening up the buffer more wouldn’t help with the situation. Only having more buffer at higher cell voltage help. So, basically using mountain mode or hold mode with more than the 1.2kWh buffer remaining will solve this problem.

You have a 2012, so Hold mode isn’t available. I would just use mountain mode to reserve a bigger buffer if the range need is greater than your EV range which should be at least 35 miles.

They replaced my BIL’s 2013 Volt pack after ~28k miles when it had a Propulsion Power Reduced message.

Only ~28k miles, only about two years’ worth of average driving, shouldn’t result in enough normal degradation of the cells in the pack to result in reduced power output. I would guess there was some other problem.

I have read that a few of the highest mileage, oldest Volts have shown signs of reduced power, and I’ve read suggestions that this is due to general cell degradation. But not on a Volt that has only ~28k miles on it.

For the first four years of its life it was a Florida car parked and charged outside in the sun. This pack replacement happened just last year. Perhaps it was simply the software bug we read about on this site and the local dealer and GM together screwed up and did a warranty HVB replacement rather than the software fix – the problem only happened when going uphill with the HVB depleted. It’s pretty scary to be going uphill at 60MPH and suddenly lose nearly all power – I was borrowing the car one time that it happened.

To the detriment of modern lithium ion batteries in EV applications, .. I would factor
1. heat
2. age (calendar years)
3. cycles (miles)

Uh, we have 2 Bolts which we LOVE. Best car ever. But…we did have 1 battery replaced under warranty and that was 6 months after we had the software update under recall.

There are several instances in the Bolt EV owners group on Facebook where the battery recall check or similar query evolved into the car getting a new battery. All of those were under warranty and unrelated to degradation, so the underlying message here is right, but Barra’s claim is poorly worded.

We were so successful with the design of the Volt that we… got rid of it..

I would love to hear more from GM plug in car owners. It’s been well documented that GMs batteries have performed very well over the years. But I keep hearing Volt owners say they have had NO degredation. How is that possible? No matter how well built a battery is built, it will have SOME degredation over years, won’t it?

This is achieved by design. The Volt uses a 16kWh battery (some variation based on year model) but only makes 10kWh available to the user. They basically block off 3kWh at the top and bottom which extends the life of the battery. If you always charge your cell phone to 70% and never discharged below 30%, it would last twice as long. So, of course, all batteries degrade and so does the Volt, you just can’t see it and in most cases are not affected by the degradation.

Mark, if I am only allowed to use 10.3 kWh of a 16.5 kWh pack with the rest of the pack capacity, around 6.2 kWh, used as a battery buffer (the pack is never allowed to discharge below 3.1 kWh or above 13.4 kWh, or some combination of buffers that add up to 6.2 kWh) to baby the pack, how would I even know if the capacity drops from 16.5 kWh to 15 kWh? I still get to use 10.3 kWh so my range is the same, even though the buffer is down from 6.2 kWh (split between the top and the bottom buffers) to 4.7 kWh. The pack capacity would have to drop by 38% for me to see a reduced amount of charge capacity and that is very unlikely in 8 to 10 years given the robust thermal protection system on the Volt.

Keep in mind that all production EV battery packs use less than the full capacity of the battery pack in daily cycling. There is full capacity, and there is usable capacity.

It seems pretty clear that GM designed the Volt’s battery pack with a pretty big gap between usable and full capacity. (We can applaud GM for using conservative engineering!) It also seems pretty clear that GM designed the car to preserve the usable capacity, by using more and more of the full capacity over time.

Strangely, some people want to argue with this perfectly straightforward logical conclusion. But I haven’t seen any other rational explanation for the evidence in hand.

I hope that after the warranty expires on my Volt that there will be software fixes to unlock all the capacity remaining at that time, with a user chosen option to charge to just 90% capacity most days that could be over ridden on days you expect to drive more. I still wouldn’t use the full capacity often if my pack capacity was at 13 kWh when my warranty runs out, but it would be nice to be able to use it on the odd days when I do drive more than 10.3 kWh will take me.

InsideEVs: no mention of Eric Belmer”s Sparkie? Seems like the perfect time to make a reference

Sparkie has passed on, bless its hybrid heart. I hope GM gave Mr. Belmer a great deal on a new Volt!

What?! What happened??

There were a series of problems from around 417k miles to 445k miles and eventually Belmer said that it was time to let it go. The GM dealer he was working with wanted to do $7,000 worth of repairs that “might” fix the problem. He had a coolant leak that was the final straw.



Mine was a 2017 Bolt, after 6 months and only 8k miles the battery was replace cause it would only charge to 160 miles. It used to charge to 238-250. So to say they never replaced a battery for degredation is a lie. I charged with level 2 charger and once with dcfast charge. The Bolt has been in the shop at least 12 times for various problems in under a year. I will never buy GM again.

That wasn’t a case of general degradation, but rather some much bigger problem with the battery.
Also, saying your Bolt “only charged to 160 miles” tells us absolutely nothing about degradation, since the range estimate is based on driving behavior/HVAC use/ambient temps. I can get my Bolt’s range meter to display <150 miles on a full charge if I drive like a madman with the heat cranked to the max.
How many kWh were you able to get out of your battery when you were getting 160 miles displayed?

Because they ignored customers’ requests for changing it? LOL

I don’t know how many Bolt packs have been replaced. But, it doesn’t take much searching over at the gm-volt forum to find people who have needed their Volt pack replaced. It’s extremely uncommon, but definitely more than zero. So, I’m amazed that she made that statement.

Were they under warranty? Her wording isn’t clear, but I took it to mean replaced under degradation warranty.

Read the PPR thread yourself:


User KGreb sounds like his battery was replaced due to degradation.

An interesting thing to note is that for the 2011/12 Volts the mileage on the battery doesn’t seem to be as big a factor as age.

He says he had to fully charge, discharge, let it sit for 20 minutes. That doesn’t sound like degradation issue but more of battery failure.

Not to get too technical, but after discharging and letting the car sit briefly some of the cells would self-discharge to a dangerously low level. That forces PPR mode where the engine runs at max RPM for 10 minutes and you have significantly reduced power to drive. It’s scary to most people, and the car drives like a turtle, which is dangerous. Definetly all caused by battery degradation.

My 16kwh battery now shows that it’s about an 11kwh battery using GM’s dealer tool (GDS2). Serious degradation.

All I can say is my two Volts’ batteries performed flawlessly. 2012 120k mi. only lost 2 mi. range because I went to a stickier Michelin tire that I needed for climate / traction conditions.

I don’t think Mexico BAILED OUT GM, Canada and the USA did,GM can sell all the vehicles they make in MEXICO to Mexicans..

Since GM will eventually be closing and re-locating any and all Canadian GM plants to Mexico or elsewhere , Canada would be prudent to introduce a 60% Duty Or Ban GM Car Sales in Canada , FOREVER !

I have a Spark EV with the same LG battery pack. 20k miles and 93% capacity left. My neighbor has 3 Soark ev and 2 Volts. All have great batteries. He has a lot of kids.
The liquid cooling is key. No wilted LEAF with no cooling for us.

“We’ve sold over 200,000 electric vehicles — and we have yet to replace a battery pack”

This is a lie. But even if we consider “due to degradation”, a lot of first-gen Volt owners are experiencing “propulsion power reduced”, typically as the car is transitioning from CD to CS modes. GM has a TSB out that basically says, ‘don’t worry about it’. But it’s an obvious sign that the battery no longer has the power to deliver full performance because the battery degradation has consumed the lower end of the packs buffer.

Yes, I am going through this now. My SOC is 91%. GM’s answer was to adjust the buffer to eliminate the propulsion power reduced error.

I don’t think anyone would claim that GM’s batteries all deliver 100% of original SOC 8 years after Volt production started. But as in the example below, if you have lost 9% battery in a ~6 year old EV, I think that’s a pretty good track record. You can argue that the battery management software should be smarter (so you don’t need to visit the dealer to adjust the buffer), but the battery endurance is still laudable.

Agreed. Mine is an MY2012 that was received in December 2011, so 9% lost over 7 years and 73,000 miles, 50,000 electric miles. As you say, Dan, that’s pretty good.

That’s not quite true. I saw at least 3 batteries being replaced at my local Chevy dealer.

Marry Barra, a large target that is close, easy to hit, and you can use any ammunition and get a nice pattern.
The result will be a target full of holes as are her pronouncements, arguments, and statements.

Well, she does not seem to know her company recalled about 100 Bolt EV last year to have their battery replaced because of a faulty cell pack last year. My dealer had one client affected.

Not impressed. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, you better shut up.

It seems she meant “replaced because of degradation”.
Therefore, the statement would be true apparently.

Mary Nara is a liar. I owned the first Chevy Volt and they replaced my battery the first week I owned it. They flew it in overnight and replaced it. 4 Pinocios

‘Degradation’ is apparently a narrow definition. Lots of battery modules and entire battery assemblies get replaced on Volts

Well that’s a load of BS. I had to have the battery pack replaced on my 2016 Volt. I had a loaner for a week while they worked on it.

Coincidentally I watched a YouTube video yesterday from someone who replaced his battery cells but not buying them from GM due to price.

Of course not. Those are LG Chem batteries and electronics.

GM walked away from engineering their own battery and electronic power systems about 20 years ago and haven’t changed.

Electronics and power systems are GM design. Leaf is showing the folly of trying to make your own battery. GM’s development money is primarily from gasser sales, and pouring billions into battery manufacturing would’ve killed the company, unlike Tesla where the investment primarily came from investors. There’s zero chance people would’ve invested in Electric GM, a company that wiped out the investors less than a decade ago.

Have a 2011 with 107000 miles . Still chargers up to same ev range as when it was purchased.

They’re finally beginning to Catch On, that Building Premium Luxury EV’s is the only way to make a Decent Profit . Econo-Boxes just can’t cut it , they are money losers, Until Batteries Get Really Cheap .. 🙁

So, the corrected statement is that of the 200,000 battery packs they have sold, only 20 have been replaced due to normal use degradation.