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GM recalls all Chevy Bolt EVs over fire risk

23 August 2021

General Motors announced a voluntary expansion of their current Chevrolet Bolt EV recall to cover the remaining 2019 and all 2020-2022 model year vehicles, including the Bolt EUV. “In rare circumstances, the batteries supplied to GM for these vehicles may have two manufacturing defects—a torn anode tab and folded separator—present in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire,” GM said in a press release.

The new recall affects some 73,000 Bolt EVs sold in the USA and Canada. GM will replace defective battery modules in Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs with new modules, with an expected additional cost of $1 billion.

The action is an expansion of a previous recall over the same issue, announced last month, which affected some 69,000 Bolt EVs from 2017-2019 model years, and cost the carmaker about $800 million.

The new batteries under the recall will come with an 8-year/100,000-mile limited warranty (or 8-year/160,000 km limited warranty in Canada).

The batteries were supplied by LG. The previous recall was issued after manufacturing defects were discovered in certain battery cells produced at LG manufacturing plant in Ochang, Korea. The expansion of the recall was announced once the same defects were found in batteries manufactured beyond the Ochang plant—presumably in the United States. GM and LG Energy Solution (LGES) have a joint venture, Ultium Cells LLC, that is operating a battery cell plant in Michigan, and building new plants in Ohio and Tennessee.

The expenses of the recall are likely to be divided between LG and GM, depending on the results of an ongoing investigation by the two companies into the root cause of the problem. Earlier this month, LG Electronics set aside 234.6 billion won ($200 million) as a provision expense for the Bolt EV recall, while LG Chem earmarked 91 billion won ($78 million).

GM said it is working with LG to increase battery production as soon as possible. Until the affected customers receive replacement modules, they should set their vehicle to a 90% state of charge limitation, charge their vehicle more frequently, avoid depleting their battery below approximately 70 miles (113 km) of remaining range, and park their vehicles outside and away from their homes.

Source: General Motors | NHTSA