About six months ago, the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) started an investigation into some Chevrolet Bolt EVs due to fire risk. General Motors has officially announced it now has a fix for the problem.
Back in the middle of November, once NHTSA publicized the investigation, GM recalled nearly 70,000 Bolt models. Some 50,000 of those cars were sold on our shores, and they were all 2017, 2018, and 2019 models. Dealers had to stop the sale of such cars awaiting a fix.
According to GM via Automotive News:
"GM believes the cause of five known fires is related to a rare manufacturing defect in the production of the battery cells by LG Chem in South Korea, said spokesman Dan Flores. The defect could result in a heat source or a short in a cell, which could cause a fire, he said."
The report goes on to state that dealerships will be able to identify the issue with a special diagnostic tool. If a problem is detected, the dealer will "replace battery module assemblies." In addition, GM says the dealer will install software that can work to detect future issues before they occur.
If you own a 2019 Bolt, you could get your car fixed as soon as this week. However, GM plans to wait until the end of May to offer the fix to owners of 2017 and 2018 Bolt EVs.
2019 Bolts have batteries produced by LG Chem, as well as batteries made in Michigan. The Michigan-made batteries have not been shown to have the fire-risk issue. All 2017 and 2018 Bolts have the LG Chem batteries produced in South Korea. According to GM, 2020 Bolts have a different chemistry, so they're unaffected.
Automotive News also reported that the new diagnostic software will be standard going forward, not only in the 2022 Bolt EV and Bolt EUV, but also in all of GM's upcoming electric vehicles.