The Big Deal About Chevy Bolt Battery Fires

The Big Deal About Chevy Bolt Battery Fires

In August of 2021, GM announced the Bolt EV’s third recall on behalf of their automobile division known as Chevrolet. The recall covered all 141,000 models, and Chevrolet confirmed that 16 cars had already caught fire. The news has prompted another wave of Chevy customers either getting money back or a new car.

What is GM doing about the poorly manufactured batteries?

GM (an American auto manufacturer that umbrellas Chevrolet) intends to replace all Chevy Bolt battery modules and has identified the primary issue as a battery manufacturing flaw. A few individual cells in the battery are the cause of these fires.

Replacement battery modules were set to start shipping to dealers as soon as mid-October (but just started arriving in mid-November). GM explained the leading cause of circumstances that could trigger battery fires is “two manufacturing defects known as a torn anode and a folded separator, both of which need to be present in the same battery cell.” GM explained that its battery producer, LG, has created and implemented new manufacturing processes and working with GM to evaluate and improve quality assurance programs to provide confidence in its batteries and their production moving forward.

What has GM told Chevrolet Bolt owners to do in the meantime? 

At one point, GM released guidance to no longer charge your Bolt overnight and leave the car parked outside of the garage after charging. Additionally, GM recommends keeping the vehicle charged at only 90% (max) and avoiding depleting the battery life below a range of 70 miles.

These words of advice or strongly suggested recommendations for many Bolt owners came across as more alarming rather than reassuring. There has now been the third wave of related fires and recalls on the same issue. Customers have every right to be concerned, upset, and at this point, fed up. Many Bolt owners want their money back or a brand-new car (not just a battery module replacement).

How simple is it to get your money back or a vehicle replacement?

Chevrolet has spent nearly 900 million dollars on recall costs, but it’s been selective concerning customers’ requests about buybacks. Laws surrounding buying back or replacing problematic vehicles in the United States are commonly known as Lemon Laws. These Lemon Laws vary from state to state, which has granted Chevrolet (and other car companies) the power to treat the buybacks on a case-by-case basis rather than blanketing or providing everyone with the right to their money back.

The loophole has many Bolt owners left waiting in limbo, fearful of their vehicle and for their safety and their families, and unsure of what solution they will receive. In a Facebook “Chevy Bolt EV and EUV Owners Group,” a member posted an image of a flyer posted at their local Seattle parking garage that stated owners of Chevrolet Bolt EV’s were “strictly prohibited from entering this facility in conjunction with the recent recall due to fire-related safety concerns .. .”

What to do if you own Bolt EVs (2017-2022) and Bolt EUVs (2022) with recall in California? 

Living in California may help Bolt owners due to that state’s consumer protection laws. Contact Chevy as soon as possible and continue to stay in touch with them often. Remember that old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Well, in this case, with so many “squeaky wheels” or upset and fearful owners, it can make a huge difference to have a reputable lemon law attorney fighting on your behalf.

A Covid-19-pandemic-wrecked-economy, supply chain shortages, and issues, and many other complications make getting manufacturers to buy back vehicles that much more complex and competitive but know that you do have rights under the California laws.

Contact an experienced California Lemon Law attorney who knows not only your rights but is experienced in California’s Lemon Law and buybacks.

October 24, 2021