American car giant General Motors is to recall more than 68,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles due to the potential of battery fires.
General Motors, along with the United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), announced last week that it was issuing a recall notice on 68,667 select 2017-2019 model-year Chevrolet Bolt EVs with high voltage batteries produced at LG Chem’s battery facility in Ochang, Korea.
The concern is that there is a risk of fire when the batteries are charged to full capacity, or very close to full capacity.
Concerns arose after GM discovered five confirmed incidents of battery fires on the Chevy Bolt EV when the batteries were either at full charge or almost fully charged. Three of those five incidents were highlighted in October by the NHTSA, but all five reports appear to have already been under investigation by GM.
“The safety of our products is the highest priority for the entire GM team,” said Jesse Ortega, executive chief engineer for the Chevrolet Bolt EV, speaking during a briefing with media on Friday.
“We will continue to cooperate with NHTSA and we are working around the clock on our own investigation to identify the issue.”
Reportedly, according to The Detroit News, GM was aware of two reports of smoke-inhalation injuries due to the fires.
GM is therefore issuing a voluntary recall notice while simultaneously pushing out a software update beginning on November 17 which will limit the charge for all of the affected vehicles to 90% while the company continues its own investigations.
“We believe this action will reduce the risk of battery fire while we work to identify the issue, and determine the appropriate final repair,” said Ortega.
Owners of select 2017-2019 model-year Chevrolet Bolt EVs are also advised to take the following steps:
If you have a 2017 or 2018 model-year Bolt EV:
- Change the vehicle charge settings to use the Hill Top Reserve option
If you have a 2019 model-year Bolt EV:
- Change the vehicle charge settings to enable Target Charge Level at 90%