General Motors Extends the Bolt EV, EUV Production Shutdown Through the End of February as it Deals With Battery Recall
【Summary】As automaker General Motors works to replace the battery packs in all of the Bolt EVs due to a battery recall, the production shutdown of the two EVs at GM’s Orion Assembly plant in Michigan has been extended multiple times. The latest suspension will halt production until at least the end of February, Reuters reported on Monday.
Automaker General Motors is in the beginnings of its transition to electric vehicles, with the launch of the Hummer EV, Bright EV600 electric delivery van, and soon to be launched Chevy Silverado E electric pickup and Cadillac Lyriq. However, GM's more budget friendly Bolt EV and EUV are currently not for sale due to a massive battery recall in July due to the risk of battery fires.
As the automaker work's to replace the battery packs in all of the Bolt EVs, the production shutdown of the vehicle at GM's Orion Assembly plant in Michigan has been extended multiple times, the latest suspension will halt production until at least the end of February, Reuters reported on Monday.
The Bolt was first recalled in Nov 2020, after several reports of battery fires were reported.
For the Nov 2020 recall, GM dealers installed a software update and reduced battery state of charge to 90%. At the time, GM said the risk of fire is increased when the battery is charged to full, or very close to full capacity.
However in July, there were two more battery fires reported in Bolt EVs that already had the software update, which prompted GM to recall all 69,000 of them. One of the fires occurred while a Bolt EV was being charged at the owner's home in Vermont. The other occurred in New Jersey.
The recall included 9,335 2019 model year Bolt EVs and 63,683 2020–2022 model year Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs, including 52,403 sold in the U.S.
GM also suspended the sale of new Bolts until all of the battery packs are replaced.
The batteries were supplied by GM's battery partner LG Electronics, which is helping to cover the cost.
GM originally hoped to resume Bolt EV production in September. But After disassembling some Bolt battery packs as part of its own investigation into the issue, the company said it discovered "manufacturing defects in certain battery cells produced at LG's manufacturing facilities.
GM President Mark Reuss said the company was addressing the recall before resuming production. He said the company will prioritize recall repairs and "focus on battery module replacements."
Then in early September, GM said that it was dealing with a "battery pack shortage" and suspended Bolt production until Sept 24. A week later, GM announced it was extending the suspension until Oct 15.
Three weeks later, GM announced its was suspending production again, with a target date to resume production on Dec 6. That date was once again pushed to late January, until today's announcement that the suspension will extend until the end of February.
The battery in the Bolt EVs is warrantied by GM for 8 years or 100,000 miles, so the repairs are free for customers.
In October, South Korean battery firms LG Chem and LG Electronics agreed to pay $1.2 billion to help cover the costs of the Bolt battery replacements. This is on top of the $800 million GM said the original Bolt recall in Nov 2020 would cost.
The massive recall of the Bolt EV and EUV has left GM without a mass market EV to compete with Tesla or its U.S rival Ford Motor Co. In addition, other automakers are also unveiling new battery powered models, such as the new IONIQ 5 SUV from Hyundai.
GM's multiple production shutdowns of the Bolt are understandable, as a second safety recall for any reason could erode consumer confidence in the company's ability to build EVs.
The automaker is investing $35 billion through 2025 on electrification of its model lineup, as well as autonomous driving and connected vehicle technologies.
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