General Motors has determined that the fire risk from Chevrolet Bolt batteries is so great that it has expanded its recall of certain model years of the electric vehicle to include every Bolt ever sold.
The latest recall notice, published on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, adds 73,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. and Canada to the list. The company previously recalled 69,000 2017-2019 models.
The latest recall was triggered by two reports of Bolt battery fires in vehicles that had already received a repair. In late July, GM engineers said they had identified a second “rare manufacturing defect” that increases the vehicles’ risk of catching fire. Although officials didn’t say exactly what the defects are, it said the problem stems from the cells that make up the Bolt’s battery pack.
“With this expansion, all Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles are now recalled due to the risk of the high-voltage battery pack catching fire,” the NHTSA said in a statement. “The recall applies to all Bolt vehicles, including those that may have received an earlier recall repair for the fire risk issue.”
Don’t park it in a garage
GM took the added step of asking Bolt owners to park their vehicles outside and away from buildings and to avoid charging the vehicle overnight when it is unattended. The automaker also recommends that owners take the following action:
Set their vehicle to the 90% state of charge limitation using Hilltop Reserve mode (2017 and 2018 model years) or Target Charge Level mode (2019-2022 model years). If owners are unable to set their vehicles to the 90% state of charge limitation mode, or if they feel uncomfortable making the change, GM is asking owners to visit a local dealer immediately to have the change made.
Recharge the battery on their Bolts after each use and avoid waiting until the battery is almost run down (deep discharge mode) before charging it back up.
In the previous recall, GM performed a software update. In this latest recall, the company said it expects to spend $1 billion to replace the battery cell modules. It said it is working with the manufacturer to identify the cause of the defect.