Vermont State Police released this photo of the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV that caught fire in the driveway of State Representative Timothy Briglin, a Democrat, on July 1, 2021.
Vermont State Police
General Motors launched a second recall of its 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt EVs after at least two of the electric vehicles being repaired due to a previous issue went up in flames.
The automaker said Friday that officials from GM and LG Energy Solutions, which supply the vehicle’s battery cells, discovered a second “rare manufacturing defect” in the electric vehicles that increases the risk of fire. The recall affects approximately 69,000 cars worldwide, including nearly 51,000 in the United States
To fix the problem, GM said that defective battery modules in the vehicles will be replaced, which can be costly but free for owners. The automaker says the repair is different from the previous fix, which was largely software based and, in some cases, replacement modules.
“We’re working with our supplier and manufacturing teams to find out how best to speed up battery capacity for module replacement as part of the recall,” said GM spokesman Dan Flores in an email. “These teams are working on this around the clock.”
The company “will notify customers when spare parts are available,” said Flores.
In the meantime, GM is urging affected Bolt EV owners to set their vehicles to a 90% state of charge limit in Hilltop Reserve Mode (for 2017-2018 model years) or Target State of Charge mode (for 2019 model year).
GM is also urging owners to avoid draining their batteries below about 70 miles of remaining range and, as recommended last week, continue not to park their vehicles indoors or to charge them unattended overnight “out of caution”.
The first fire recall of the Bolt electric vehicles was announced in November by GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The automaker launched a solution earlier this year that it believed was a permanent solution to the problem.
One of the most recent fires occurred when the vehicle was charged in the home of a Vermont state legislature earlier this month. The other fire occurred in New Jersey.
The NHTSA said last week that battery cell packs in the affected vehicles have the potential to smoke and ignite internally, which could spread to the rest of the vehicle and cause a structural fire if the vehicle is in a garage or near a house is parked.
GM has bought back some of the recalled vehicles, but the company has refused to say how many. Automakers often buy back recalled vehicles to appease dissatisfied customers and avoid triggering state lemon laws and litigation.
According to GM, owners with questions should visit www.chevy.com/boltevrecall or contact the Chevrolet EV hotline at 1-833-EVCHEVY or contact their preferred Chevrolet EV dealer.