General Motors has announced that it is voluntarily recalling just under 140,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs for a potential fire risk. However, this has nothing to do with the previous recall connected to faulty battery packs that could catch fire, and the new potential fire hazard is frankly a bit surprising.
Apparently these 2017 to 2023 model year Bolt EVs have seatbelt pretensioners whose exhaust gases may set fire to the vehicle’s carpets in the event of a crash. The manufacturer does note that it is an extremely rare occurrence, but it will apply a fix to all affected vehicles.
Chevrolet apparently won’t replace the seat belt pretensioners and will instead place foil on the carpet to shield it from the exhaust and thus eliminate the problem. Seat belt pretensioners have a pyrotechnic component to them, just like airbags, and they are designed to detonate when the vehicle detects a crash in order to tighten and make sure occupants are held firmly in place.
Of the affected vehicles almost 20,000 are in Canada, with the remaining 120,000 in the United States. The recall has yet to be announced on the NHTSA website, but it has already been made public in Canada, although it has not been announced when owners will be sent notifications or when affected vehicles will be called in to service centers to fix the problem.
This recall comes after another much more serious one caused by faulty battery packs that could suddenly catch fire. GM did begin a process of replacing the battery packs in affected vehicles and this actually increased their range – pre-refresh vehicles (2017 to 2019) actually got a 10 percent higher capacity pack, or the equivalent of around 6 kWh.
Last month the manufacturer had gone through and already replaced the faulty packs in about half the affected vehicles, focusing on older vehicles from 2017 to 2019 model years first.