General Motors is expanding its recall of the Chevy Bolt to all models – including the two new versions released earlier this year – after multiple fires in the electric vehicle’s battery packs caused by defects in the LG Chem cells found inside.
GM warns owners not to charge their bolts overnight in or near their homes and park the vehicles outside if they are not charging. It also urges owners not to charge their bolts above 90 percent or discharge the battery to below 70 miles of remaining range.
Owners should follow these guidelines until replacement modules – the battery packs that make up the package – are ready. However, it is not clear when that will be. GM says it will “only begin replacing battery modules in customer vehicles if GM and LG are confident that the LG product will be safe”.
Replacement batteries are only available if “GM and LG are convinced of the safety of the LG product”
“We are working aggressively with LG to adjust production so that replacement modules are available as soon as possible,” said Daniel Flores, a spokesman for GM, in an email.
GM had already recalled the 2017-2019 model year bolts twice after the initial fix – where new software was supposed to help prevent fires – didn’t appear to be working.
The recall expansion comes after a 2020 model year bolt caught fire in the U.S. this week. A video of the fire had been posted on YouTube but was removed a few hours later, and users on Reddit had noticed that it was a newer bolt that was not subject to the original recalls.
GM confirmed to The Verge that the vehicle was indeed a 2020 Bolt, but said it had no opportunity to inspect the remains of the electric car. “This vehicle is certainly worrying, but we are making recall decisions based on data,” said Flores.
In July, GM confirmed the fires start if there are two defects in the LG Chem batteries that power the bolt. On Friday, the company said the defects were a cracked anode tab and a folded separator in the cell. It also announced that the defects occur in cells made in several plants.
The recall cost GM nearly $ 2 billion
“After further investigations into LG’s manufacturing processes and battery pack dismantling, GM discovered manufacturing defects in certain battery cells manufactured in LG manufacturing facilities outside of the Ochang, Korea facility,” GM wrote in a statement. “GM and LG are working to remedy the cause of these shortcomings. In the meantime, GM is pursuing commitments from LG to reimburse these field measures. “
The recall has cost GM around $ 800 million so far, but the company said Friday that the expanded recall will cost another $ 1 billion.
GM isn’t the only one having issues with LG’s batteries. Hyundai had to recall the Kona EV earlier this year after a handful of vehicles caught fire. The company even discontinued the electric SUV in South Korea as sales crumbled after the fires and the recall.
But GM’s partnership with LG is deep. GM and LG are spending billions of dollars building battery plants in the U.S. to supply cells for the automaker’s upcoming line of electric vehicles, including the Hummer EV.