Back in November, Chevy Bolt EVs from 2017 through 2019 were recalled due to battery fire risk. Now, months later, the same 50,932 electric sedans are being recalled again — even after a software update went out — because of more sudden fires.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a consumer alert Friday after three more car fires were reported since the initial recall, and after suggested fixes didn’t, well, fix the problem. Chevy’s parent company, General Motors, told the Wall Street Journal there have been eight battery fires and two reported injuries in total.
In Friday’s alert, NHTSA warned about fire risk and advised owners to continue to follow General Motors’ advice: Park the vehicles outside, keep them away from structures, and avoid charging overnight while the car is unattended.
After the first November recall, Chevy had issued a software update to reprogram the battery, recommended owners modify battery settings and charging habits, and offered buybacks. The Bolt first came out in 2017.
This week, Chevy and its battery supplier, LG Chem, posted on the Chevrolet website about two “rare manufacturing defects” in the same battery cell as the original battery problem, which then prompted the second recall. NHTSA estimates only 1 percent of the over 50,000 cars have the defects.
Even with the low likelihood of a battery fire while charging, GM is replacing battery modules for free for affected users, just like it offered after the November recall. But until the replacement parts are ready, owners are advised to keep the car outside and avoid overnight charging. Also, users should only charge the car to 90 percent full and keep the battery above 70 miles of remaining range.
Bolts from 2020 and 2021 are not considered a fire risk, nor do they fall under recalls, because they have a different battery. Chevy released its newest Bolt EV and bigger Bolt EUV earlier this summer.