Is My Chevy Bolt a Fire Hazard?

Yes. It’s as simple as that. Because every single Chevrolet Bolt ever sold in the U.S. has been recalled because of the risk of a battery fire. That’s over 100,000 vehicles in the U.S. alone.

Bolt batteries are catching fire

Multiple Bolt owners have reported that the battery pack in their Chevy Bolt started a vehicle fire. The NHTSA opened an investigation in October 2020, and GM issued the first of 3 Chevrolet Bolt recalls in November 2020, affecting 2017-2018 MY vehicles and certain 2019 models. GM said that some battery packs manufactured in LG Chem’s Ochang, Korea plant and used in Bolt vehicles may pose a fire hazard when charged to full capacity.

The second recall came in July, 2021, and applied to all 2017-2019 MY Bolt vehicles. This recall was issued after a vehicle that had been previously been recalled and repaired caught fire. GM claimed that thorough investigations with battery manufacturer LG had revealed that the cause of the fires was the “simultaneous presence of two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell.”

GM issued a third recall just a month later in August 2021, recalling ALL model Chevrolet Bolt vehicles, including 2022 Bolt EVs and EUVs AND Bolt vehicles that have already had a recall remedy completed. In this recall, GM revealed that the same two battery defects –a torn anode tab and folded separator –had been found in Bolts equipped with batteries manufactured in other LG plants. GM intends to replace the battery packs in all Bolt vehicles, at a cost of $1 billion.

GM has not started recall repairs

GM has not begun any repairs as a result of the Bolt recalls, and has stopped production on the new Bolt at its Orion Assembly plant. The automanufacturer has said that until LG can supply defect-free batteries, it will not restart production or complete any repairs under the recall:

“If we took the battery stock that’s in the field right now or at a warehouse, we’re not confident that it is defect-free….We’re not going to start recall repairs or start building new Bolts until we’re confident LG will build defect-free products.”

With the latest recall announcements, GM seems to be placing the blame for the defect squarely on LG, and is trying to make LG responsible for the $1 billion costs too. Meanwhile, workers at the Orion Assembly plant have been laid off, and Bolt owners across the country are stuck with a vehicle that is a genuine fire hazard. Bolt owners are restricted on how much to charge their vehicle and where to park. Some businesses have posted signs prohibiting Bolt parking. Owners are inconvenienced, scared, and stuck with a vehicle that is no longer worth what they paid.

Limit the charge and park outside

While Bolt owners wait for more information and repairs, GM has provided instructions on what they should and shouldn’t do with their Chevy Bolt:

  • Limit the charge level to 90%
  • Charge the vehicle more frequently
  • Avoid depleting the battery to 70 miles range remaining
  • Park outside after charging
  • Do not charge the vehicle indoors overnight

In addition, the NHTSA issued its own statement urging Bolt owners to park outside and away from their homes.

GM is buying back some Bolts

Some Bolt owners have been able to get GM to buy back their Chevy Bolt for all, or most of, their initial purchase price. However, GM does not have a consistent buyback policy, and has said that they are “are handling buybacks on an individual basis.” This has resulted in many owners left frustrated dealing with paperwork, delays, and refusals from GM. Owners’ legal rights in this situation will depend on where they purchased their Bolt because lemon laws and other applicable consumer protections differ in each state.

Lemon laws protect people who have purchased a defective vehicle. Lemon laws can allow vehicle owners to get compensation for repairs, or have their vehicle refunded or bought back. Lemon laws do not generally cover defects that are subject to a recall but owners still have legal rights and protections. In a recall, the defect should be fixed by the automanufacturer at no cost to the vehicle owner. If a dealer refuses to complete a recall repair or tries to charge for a recall repair, the vehicle owner is entitled to be reimbursed for the cost of the repairs.

At Timothy Abeel & Associates, we are pursuing buybacks and other remedies for purchasers of the Chevy Bolt. These vehicles are a fire risk and a major safety hazard. Bolt owners have purchased an expensive car that they cannot safely use, and cannot resell without taking a significant loss. We are helping these owners to get their money back and move on.

If you have bought a Chevy Bolt, contact us at Timothy Abeel & Associates to find out how we have helped other Bolt owners and how we can help you too. Your call is risk-free. We will review your case for free and charge our fees to the manufacturer. Contact us now to find out more.

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