Unfortunately, it looks like our 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV’s catastrophic failure in Virginia doesn't seem to be just a one-off experience with an unusually bum car.
The day after our story went live, our friends at Edmunds published a piece chronicling their strife with the Blazer EV. It's been in their possession for two months, but it’s spent more than two weeks at the dealership’s service department with a laundry list of problems. Similarly, shortly after reporting on our Blazer EV drive, an array of GMC Hummer, Cadillac Lyriq, and Chevy Blazer EV owners have become way more vocal about their vehicles' woes.
It seems like the floodgates have opened. Here is a collection of emails I’ve got from Cadillac Lyriq, GMC Hummer EV, and Chevrolet Blazer EV owners, all of them explaining their issues, many of them identical to what I experienced, in their own words.
Remember, these cars are all on GM’s new Ultium platform, a common EV architecture that eventually will underpin every new GM vehicle in the near future as the American giant aims to go all-electric by 2035.
There still aren't a ton of these cars on the road yet; based on our latest data, GM sold about 6,900 Ultium-based EVs between the start of the year and the end of Q3. But more are coming soon, including many new models from each of these brands. (We reached out to GM for comment on these issues but have not heard back yet; we will update this story when we do.)
Glitchy, Broken Infotainment Systems
The Edmunds staff and I both had the same problem: the infotainment would randomly crash, then reboot and flicker for a very long time, until the infotainment just would crash entirely. This appears to be somewhat common among all three models, especially the Blazer EV, and the Cadillac Lyriq.
Andrew Kozar emailed me twice in quick succession; he’s only had his Blazer EV since Nov. 27. After five days of ownership, the car’s infotainment screen crashed and got stuck in the same loop as we’ve described before.
“[Three days later,] we took it to the dealer. No one seemed to know what to do," Kozar wrote. "After two weeks a tech was finally able to reproduce the issue (after some insistent prodding from myself with picture proof I was not making it up.) They decided to do a software update that bricked both the infotainment system AND gauge cluster rendering it useless. Because no speedometer means to driving. We are currently waiting on a replacement module and on week three of the dealer having my car. I was lucky enough to drive it five days issue-free."
About an hour after his initial email, Kozar replied explaining that the dealership replaced the entire radio module. It was installed, but Kozar says the dealership’s technicians couldn’t sync the new module to the car, so the car is still inoperable. Kozar isn’t sure when he’ll get his Blazer back.
Similar to Kozar, Jeffrey Wiens purchased a Blazer EV on Nov. 12. He said the infotainment screen conked out three days after taking ownership, and he’s spent three and a half weeks with the dealership, with an infotainment screen that constantly crashes, and reboots with not much recompense from his local GM dealer.
Sammy Kumar had a 2023 Cadillac Lyriq, but similar software woes with the infotainment screen and Super Cruise saw him trade the car in for an Escalade-V.
“I had the infotainment issue where the screen would just cut out while driving as well but the issue that made me sell that car was Super Cruise," Sammy said. "I had it on my previous Escalade and it worked flawlessly. The Lyriq on the other would frequently disengage from SC without any real reason. There was a stretch of highway that was just straight and it disconnected 4 or 5 times. It was sunny, with pretty low traffic, and no obvious reasons why it would disconnect. There was another incident where the car just started merging into another lane without any warning. I had Super Cruise's automatic lane switch feature which displays on the screen before it switches lanes. I suspect there was a lag with the display/infotainment system because there were other instances where I used the turn signal to invoke the on-demand lane departure and the alert didn't show up until after the car had switched lanes."
Despite the Escalade and Lyriq both using Google-based systems, Kumar says the Escalade’s has been far more reliable.
Charging Issues Aren’t Uncommon
Infotainment issues are one thing. Sure, they can be possibly debilitating if they affect the gauge cluster to the point where there’s no way for the driver to determine how fast they’re driving. But mostly they could be classified as annoying, and not quite dealbreakers.
Charging issues, though, can seriously impact the function of the vehicle. Several owners reached out and said they’ve experienced charging events that have sent their vehicles to the service department.
One of our regular commenters, the user named Carac, and his GMC Hummer EV may be one of the most telling experiences here yet. His truck had two different charging issues after trying to fast charge at Electrify America stations, and one incident happened at the very same DC fast charging station where I ran into problems in Wytheville, VA.
“On Oct. 4th, I stopped in Columbia, South Carolina at 11:35 p.m. at about 30%.," Carac wrote. "I was the only one there, plugged into a 350 [kilowatt-hour DC fast charger], it charged for a minute and 55 seconds, max 300 kW then I noticed the charge rate jumped suddenly and it stopped charging, then the 'Charge Port Error' came up on the screen,” he said, via e-mail. Sound familiar? After that event, he said his Hummer wouldn’t charge at all.
The local GM dealer cleared the codes, and all was well. Until Nov. 21, anyway. That's when the Hummer did the same thing in Wytheville. The only difference is that the car would charge but at a very slow rate of 9 kW. Again, the local GM dealer cleared the codes and the car continued on. To be safe, Carac’s been avoiding Electrify America stations entirely.
The Blazer EV and Cadillac Lyriq are also not immune to charging issues. Reader Bill Boyance dealt with glitchy infotainment and charging issues. His Blazer refused to charge, then the “infotainment system went haywire,” and a “red warning light came on.” Boyance says the dealer took the car back, replacing it with a gas-powered ICE Blazer RS. Likewise, this example on Reddit tells of a Lyriq that would only charge at 7 kW on a DC fast charger.
Of course, I did get some correspondence from Lyriq, Hummer, and Blazer owners who were pleased with their purchase, even if their vehicle had issues. However, it’s more than a little concerning that there are so many issues with the Ultium-based cars despite only a relative handful being on the roads.
In the emails, there’s a tone of frustration, as many of the afflicted owners have said that they don’t feel that the service departments truly know what is wrong with their vehicles, or how to fix them.
Gallery: 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV SS
GM and Electrify America are still working on figuring out exactly what happened during our drive to North Carolina. We will update you when we have an official answer from both sources.