GM is arguably doing the right thing by recalling Chevy Bolt EVs and EUVs to replace battery modules. While there are certainly other routes the company could have taken, the most important part is that it is willing to fix the problem and put people's minds at ease.
With that said, we have no idea how long it may take for GM to replace all the battery modules. And, in the meantime, Bolt drivers are going to be incredibly inconvenienced. In fact, some may not be able to use their cars at all, at least without jumping through hoops in a number of ways.
Bolt EV and EUV owners have been told not to park their cars in their garages. GM also advised that owners don't charge their cars unattended overnight. One of the top perks of EV ownership is being able to charge your car while you sleep. Moreover, EV owners with garages are highly likely to have their Level 2 charging stations installed in the garage. This means it's not necessarily an easy fix to simply move the car outside and charge it there. Plus, keeping an eye on the car while it's charging is not likely possible for almost all owners.
Automotive News recently spoke with Bolt owner Neil Wintle, who told the publication that charging his EV is “more than a little nerve-wracking.” He spent some $2,000 to have a charging station installed in his garage, but he can no longer charge his car there overnight. Instead, he has to charge it on days that he can work from home. Wintle told Automotive News:
“It’s really kind of disturbing knowing that right below me is a car that could catch fire. This has officially crossed the threshold into nightmare territory.”
Wintle also said he's going to reject a buyback offer from GM. He added that he'd probably be better off if the car actually caught fire.
GM's Bolt recall will cover over 140,000 cars, and cost the company $1.8 billion. Due to a shortage of battery cells, replacing modules in that many cars could take a very long time. In the meantime, Bolt EV and EUV owners have no choice but to comply with GM's safety suggestions or take risks that could result in disaster.
Other Bolt owners told Automotive News they don't feel safe and they've lost trust in GM. Rather than being proud of their EV and boasting about it among friends, they own a car that carries a stigma, a vehicle that may work to turn people off to electric car adoption.
This all came about as 10 Chevy Bolts caught fire. GM has found manufacturing defects and attempted other fixes. However, at this point, replacing the battery modules in every single Bolt EV and EUV is the only truly safe way forward.