General Motors Recalling Chevy Bolt EVs for Fire Risks
General Motors is recalling tens of thousands of all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EVs because of fire risks. According to a CNBC news report, the Detroit automaker said it is recalling 68,677 of the cars globally from 2017 through 2019 model years including nearly 51,000 in the United States. The recall includes some vehicles being used by GM’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruise. So far, GM has been able to confirm five incidents of fires that could be related to high-voltage batteries in the vehicles.
Details of the Recall
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in October opened an investigation into three reported fires involving Chevy Bolt EVs. The automaker is cooperating with the federal vehicle safety agency, according to Jesse Ortega, executive chief engineer for the Chevrolet Bolt EV. He said GM has a dedicated team of engineers and experts working to determine the cause of the fires.
So far they have found that common factors in the fires included vehicles that were at or near full charge and had batteries produced between May 2016 and May 2019 by GM’s partner, LG Chem, in South Korea. While GM doesn’t expect to have a fix for this issue until next year, the automaker is asking Bolt EV owners to schedule an appointment with a Chevrolet dealership beginning Tuesday, Nov. 17. Dealers will reflash and update the car’s battery software to limit the vehicle’s maximum charge to 90%.
GM is asking vehicle owners to change their vehicle’s setting to lower its charging capacity until customers receive the software update. It has released a video on how to do so. If vehicle owners are not comfortable changing the settings, GM says they should avoid parking the vehicles in garages or carports as a precaution until they get the software updated. NHTSA’s investigation included 77,842 Bolt EVs from the 2017 through 2020 mode years. GM said it is not recalling vehicles from the 2020 model year because those batteries have a different formula than earlier models and haven’t had reports of fires.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Vehicles that could catch fire not only pose the threat of property damage but also serious personal injuries such as burns. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective auto, you have the right to file a product liability claim seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, permanent injuries and pain and suffering. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.