General Motors LLC said it’s recalling all Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles due to fire risks tied to two manufacturing defects in the batteries, expanding two previous recalls to include an additional 73,000 newer model vehicles.
The Detroit auto giant said the batteries supplied to GM for the Chevrolet Bolt vehicles may have two manufacturing defects — a torn anode tab and a folded separator — that increased the risk of fire. So, out of an abundance of caution, GM said it’s expanding its existing recall in order to replace the defective battery modules with new modules. The move is expected to cost the automaker an additional $1 billion.
The expanded recall covers an additional 9,335 model year 2019 Chevrolet Bolt vehicles that were not included in the earlier recall, as well as 63,683 model year 2020 to 2022 Chevrolet Bolt vehicles. The company’s previous recall covered approximately 69,000 Chevrolet Bolt vehicles from model years 2017 to 2019.
Chevrolet Bolt owners will be notified when replacement modules are ready, but in the meantime, GM has asked car owners to take certain steps.
It advised customers to set their vehicles to a mode that caps the battery charge at 90%, to charge their vehicles more frequently and avoid depleting the batteries to below 70 miles of remaining range where possible, and to park their vehicles outside immediately after charging and not to leave their vehicles charging indoors overnight.
The 90% charge cap was the result of the company’s first recall of the vehicles in November when it issued a software update to address battery fires that happened when the batteries were fully charged.
The alleged defect and the 90% charge cap have already led to a consumer class action filed against GM in Michigan federal court in December, in which Bolt owners allege that by instituting the cap instead of replacing the faulty batteries, the company deprived them of the vehicles’ advertised mileage range and reliability.