GM Recalling Nearly 69,000 Bolt EVs for Fire Risks

GM Recalling Nearly 69,000 Bolt EVs for Fire Risks
A sign is seen outside of General Motors Detroit- Hamtramck assembly plant on Jan. 27, 2020 in Detroit, Mich. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)

DETROIT/WASHINGTON—General Motors Co said on Friday it is recalling 68,677 electric cars worldwide that pose a fire risk after five reported fires and two minor injuries.

The Detroit automaker said it will recall 2017–2019 model-year Chevrolet Bolt EVs with high voltage batteries produced at LG Chem’s Ochang, Korea facility.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last month opened a preliminary investigation into the Bolt EVs after reports of three Bolts catching fire under the rear seat while parked and unattended.

GM said the vehicles pose a risk of fire when charged to full, or nearly full capacity. GM said it has developed software that will limit vehicle charging to 90 [percent] of full capacity to mitigate the risk while GM works to determine the appropriate final repair.

Smoke inhalation injuries were reported in a March 2019 incident in Belmont, Massachusetts. A Bolt caught fire in the driveway and the owner said strong fumes permeated the home during a three-hour fire requiring professional cleaning. The owners also reported they suffered headaches from contact with the smoke.

Dealerships will update the vehicle’s battery software beginning next week. GM said until owners receive the dealer software update, they should change the charge settings to enable either "Hilltop Reserve” for 2017–18 vehicles or “Target Charge Level” for 2019 model year vehicles. This will limit vehicle charging to 90 [percent].

NHTSA did not immediately comment on the recall.

Other electric vehicles have faced fire risk recalls.

Last month, Hyundai Motor issued a recall for about 75,000 Kona EVs worldwide because of a possible short circuit due to what may be faulty manufacturing of its high-voltage battery cells could pose a fire risk.

By Ben Klayman and David Shepardson
Related Topics