UPDATE: General Motors reached out to us and said it never guaranteed battery replacement as stated in this story's original headline. "We have always stated that we will replace defective modules, which this new software helps us do," a representative said. We updated the title to reflect that; original story follows below.
Owners of 2020-2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV models are venting on social media after General Motors informed them that not all vehicles included in the recall qualify for a high-voltage battery/battery modules replacement.
GM told them that a free diagnostic software will allow vehicles to charge to 100 percent again and monitor the battery pack for anomalies. In case the tool detects anomalies, GM will replace the drive battery or its affected modules.
Unsurprisingly, 2020-2022 Chevy Bolt owners are not happy with this change considering that General Motors has replaced drive batteries on 2020-2022 Bolt EVs before as part of the infamous Bolt EV battery recall.
A member of the Chevy Bolt EV and EUV Owners Group on Facebook claims GM told them that it tested the removed batteries on 2020-2022 Bolts and most were not found to be defective so they did not need to be replaced.
"I got a call today from the Chevrolet Concierge letting me know that GM has come up with a software fix instead of replacing the main battery on 2020-2022 Bolts. They will install software that puts the vehicle back to allowing 100% charging and it monitors the car to see if there are any defects in the battery pack. Once it passes these tests they will remove the safety recall on your vehicle.
I made an appointment with my dealer to get this software installed next week. They told me that GM tested the removed batteries on 2020-2020 Bolts and found that most were not found to be defective so they did not need to be replaced."
Gallery: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Here's what General Motors had to say about this in a statement to Electrek.
"GM will provide owners of certain 2020-2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUVs covered under a previously announced recall a new advanced diagnostics software. The software will continually monitor the battery to detect any potential anomalies and, if none are detected after approximately 6,200 miles (10,000 km) of use, the battery will automatically return to 100% state of charge without a return trip to the dealer.
If an anomaly is detected, the software will alert the owner via a message on the driver information center and the owner should then contact their dealer to schedule a battery or module replacement.
The software is free and will need to be installed by their dealer via a brief service appointment.
Owners of certain 2020-2022 model year Bolt EV and EUVs, can start to schedule installation at their Chevy EV dealer June 13, 2023."
The fact remains that up until now GM said it would replace defective battery modules on all 2020-2022 Bolts included in the recall, so what changed in the meantime? Well, on May 26, 2023 the automaker submitted a 573 report to NHTSA that effectively separates the recall for 2020-2022 Bolt vehicles – labeled 21V-650 – from the 2017-2019 Bolt recall, which is identified as 21V-560.
In the new document, GM says the recall includes 45,049 Chevrolet Bolt EVs produced between May 2, 2019 and August 17, 2021, and 7,368 Bolt EUVs produced between February 18, 2021 and August 12, 2021. The major novelty here is the introduction of an advanced diagnostic software that will decide which battery modules require replacement.
"In certain vehicles that GM has determined may contain defective battery modules, the remedy is the replacement of the vehicle's high-voltage pack. In all other vehicles, the remedy is the installation of advanced diagnostic software that will monitor battery performance and identify defective battery modules that require replacement."
On the Bolt EV recall page on GM's website, the automaker says that "based on manufacturing and diagnostic information, certain 2020-2022 Bolt EV/EUVs are not eligible for the Advanced Diagnostic Software." These vehicles will have their lithium-ion battery modules replaced with new ones "out of an abundance of caution." GM says it will notify customers when replacement parts are ready.
We contacted the automaker for more details, and we'll update this story when we hear back.