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GM Extends the Production Shutdown of the Chevy Bolt EV Another 3 Weeks as it Deals with its Battery Recall

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【Summary】General Motors (GM) confirmed on Friday it will suspend production of the Chevy Bolt EV at its Orion Assembly plant in Michigan for another three weeks as its deals with the vehicle's battery recall. GM first suspended production in August after the massive battery recall of all Bolt EVs over the risk of battery fires.

FutureCar Staff    Nov 05, 2021 1:20 PM PT
GM Extends the Production Shutdown of the Chevy Bolt EV Another 3 Weeks as it Deals with its Battery Recall
All of the Chevy Bolt EVs have been recalled due to the risk of battery fires.

Automaker General Motors (GM) confirmed on Friday it will suspend production of the Chevy Bolt EV at its Orion Assembly plant in Michigan for another three weeks, Reuters reported on Friday. The latest production halt will start Nov. 15 and GM has a target date to resume production on Dec 6. 

GM first suspended production in August after the massive battery recall of all Bolt EVs over the risk of battery fires. The recall involved roughly 140,000 Bolts. In mid-September, GM said production of the Chevy Bolt EV wouldn't resume until at least October 15th.

Shortly after that announcement another reported battery fire occurred while a Bolt EV was parked in a customer's garage, which prompted GM to extend the production shutdown until October until its confident that it can fully mitigate the risk of battery fires. 

GM originally planned to resume production by Sept 24, but the company said in early September it was dealing with a "battery pack shortage". The automaker wants to make sure that the fix to eliminate the risk of battery fires in the Bolt EV is complete before resuming production.

GM said Friday that "battery module replacements remain the priority. We will continue to adjust Orion's production schedule moving forward to best support the recall."

GM President Mark Reuss said last month that the company will first address the massive recall resuming production of new vehicles.

GM has also suspended sales of new Bolts until the battery packs are replaced. Reuss added that GM has to certify all of the Bolt vehicles currently on dealer lots before they can be sold to customers, but did not say when those sales might start.

The battery in the Bolt EVs is warrantied by GM for 8 years or 100,000 miles, so customers won't have to pay for any repairs. In the meantime, GM is advising Bolt EV customers to park their vehicle outdoors until the repairs are completed.

But some Bolt EV owners are angry about the situation, especially those without access to outdoor parking, such as in apartment buildings and condominiums with enclosed parking garages. 

GM has been dealing with battery problems with the Bolt battery pack since last year. The 2017-2019 model year Bolt EVs were first recalled in Nov. 2020 due to the potential fires.

For the initial recall last year, GM dealers installed improved diagnostic software and limited the battery state of charge to just 90%. The automaker said the risk of fire is increased when the Bolt's battery is charged to full, or very close to full capacity. 

However in July, a fire was reported in a Bolt EV that had already had the software update installed, which prompted the second recall of 69,000 vehicles. In August the recall was extended to all of the vehicles.

The massive recall involves 9,335 2019 model year Bolt EVs and 63,683 2020–2022 model year Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs, including 52,403 that were sold in the U.S. GM said the batteries may have a torn anode tab and folded separator, which increases the risk of fire. 

The Bolt EV recall is estimated to cost around $2 billion, but GM's battery partner LG Electronics which supplied the batteries will help foot the bill. In early October, LG Electronics said it will pay a combined $1.2 billion to help GM cover the costs of the recall.  

The recall also leaves GM without any fully electric vehicles for sale in North America as its looks to compete with Tesla and other automakers that are introducing new electric models. 


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