GM Advises Bolt EV Owners to Park Vehicles Outside Over Fire Risk

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【Summary】The latest safety issues involve a recall that was announced last November.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Aug 23, 2021 7:45 AM PT
GM Advises Bolt EV Owners to Park Vehicles Outside Over Fire Risk

Last November, General Motors issued a recall that affected roughly 69,000 Bolt EVs globally. The issue involved the possibility of a fire breaking out inside the electric car's battery pack. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claimed that the cell packs on affected vehicles could potentially smoke and ignite internally. If the electric vehicles were parked inside a garage or near the house, the fire could spread. Unfortunately, it looks like the issue has popped up again.

Old Issue Resurfaces

Now, General Motors is telling owners of older Chevrolet Bolt EVs to park their vehicles outdoors. Additionally, the automaker urges owners not to charge their electric cars overnight. The new warnings come after two Bolt EVs caught fire after the brand made recall repairs on the vehicles. The request covers Bolt EVs from 2017 to 2019.

One of the fires occurred while the EV was being charged at the owner's home in Vermont earlier this month, while the other fire occurred in New Jersey. GM learned about the latter fire earlier this week.

"General Motors has been notified of two recent Chevrolet Bolt EV fire incidents in vehicles that were remedied as part of the safety recall announced in November 2020," the company said in an emailed statement to CNBC. "Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking owners of 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt EVs who were part of the recall population to park their vehicles outdoors immediately after charging and not leave their vehicles charging overnight while we investigate these incidents."

Making EV Ownership Impossible

General Motors recommends that Bolt EV owners that didn't have their cars repaired under last year's recall should still bring their vehicles to a local dealer, while the brand continues to investigate the issue.

Obviously, the potential risk of a fire is a huge issue for Bolt owners. Electric vehicles take hours to charge and depending on what kind of chargers Bolt EV owners have at their homes, they're looking at having their electric car plugged in for 9.5 hours to get a full charge. Few owners will be able to watch their cars charge for that long.

Additionally, it's unlikely that the majority of owners will be able to charge their vehicles outdoors as most people have chargers installed in their garages. There have only been a handful of cases, but telling people to park their vehicles outside and not charge overnight or for long periods of time without supervision practically makes the vehicles unusable.

To help owners see if their vehicles are affected by the recall, Chevrolet has its own website involving the recall. The NHTSA recommends that owners use the agency's website with their vehicle's VIN to check if their Bolt is included in the recall.

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