GM issues a temporary battery fix for the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt
And it’s not making any new ones yet, as it devotes battery production to recall replacements
There’s good news for those who own a Chevrolet Bolt, and bad news for those who want one. GM Canada has announced an update for the 2019 Bolt that lifts safety restrictions on charging — but it looks like Chevrolet won’t be building any new Bolts for the rest of the year, as it concentrates on getting batteries into the ones it’s already sold.
Earlier this year, General Motors issued recalls on every Bolt and Bolt EUV it’s made — that’s about 141,000 of them, including more than 18,500 in Canada — for the possibility of the battery overheating if charged to more than 90 per cent of its capacity. The automaker reported at least two fires related to the issue, and warned owners to charge more frequently to a lower charge limit, and to park the vehicle outside after charging, and not charge it indoors.
GM will continue to replace the battery modules in affected vehicles — which range from model-year 2017 to 2022 — but in the meantime, those who own 2019 Bolts and who have not yet received a replacement module can get a software update at a dealer. The battery module will still be replaced in future, but for now, the update sets the vehicle’s maximum state of charge to 80 per cent. Owners will be able to charge indoors overnight, park indoors after charging, and be able to deplete the charge beyond what was initially recommended.
The automaker said a software update is coming for other model years, and owners will be notified when it’s available. In the meantime, they should continue with the original restrictions on indoor charging and not charge the vehicle to its capacity.
The problematic batteries were made in Michigan by LG Energy Solution. Engineers discovered some torn and folded tabs and separators inside them that were causing the problem, but then had to figure out where this was happening in the manufacturing process.
But now, according to a report from The Detroit News, due to production and supply chain issues, the batteries being made are going out as replacements for the faulty ones under the recall, and no new Bolt vehicles will be made for the rest of the year. In a statement, GM spokesperson Dan Flores said the automaker has “notified employees at Orion Assembly the plant will take downtime for the remainder of the 2021 calendar year. This decision will enable us to continue prioritizing recall repairs.”
Even then, there’s no guarantee that the Bolt will bolt down the assembly line after the new year arrives. Flores said that GM will “continue to inform employees at the appropriate time of any additional production schedule adjustments in early 2022, as we continue to focus on battery module replacements.”