Chevrolet Bolt, still risk of fires after recall

Chevrolet Bolt, still risk of fires after recall

Chevrolet Bolt

General Motors does not seem to have solved the problem of possible fires caused by the batteries used in the Bolt series which runs from 2017 to 2019 (exclusive to the United States only). Although GM is quick to point out that these are isolated cases, the highest US regulatory body on driving safety has issued an official statement on the matter. In the note, the owners of the aforementioned vehicle are advised of the need to park it outside their home. Furthermore, NHTSA itself strongly advises against carrying out the classic overnight recharge.

It should be remembered that General Motors had initiated a substantial recall at the end of 2020 for the same problem, complete with a specific software update. Unfortunately, the same update did not greatly affect the real cause of the fires: in fact, the cars that caught fire recently had already carried out the update. In all likelihood, recalling similar problems seen in the smartphone world, it is a congenital defect to the batteries that only a total replacement can eliminate.

Looking at the risks for Bolt users, if it is true that any petrol vehicle or diesel can catch fire usually this happens during use. In other words, the user can intervene or call for help before the situation escalates. In the case of hybrid or electric cars, on the other hand, the car "triggers" spontaneously while it is parked or charging, as specified by the stars and stripes government bodies. Moreover, if the vehicle is in a garage (with other flammable material) and the car owners are asleep or absent, the disaster is insured.

Hence the concerns of the parent company which in recent days has released a further note on the use of the Bolt and the particular care required. GM aligns itself with government agencies in advising (or rather: ordering) particular caution in charging and parking the car. Officially, this is an "excess of prudence" but in the meantime General Motors itself has already reactivated to find a definitive solution.

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After Fires, Chevrolet Bolt Owners Are Warned: Don’t Park Indoors

Two Chevrolet Bolt EVs recently caught fire after they were repaired as part of a recall last year that affected nearly 51,000 vehicles in the United States, federal safety officials announced on Wednesday.

Now, owners of Chevrolet Bolts from the model years 2017 through 2019 have been urged to park their vehicles outdoors after charging and to avoid leaving them while they charge overnight, the officials and the car’s manufacturer said on Wednesday.

The affected vehicles were originally recalled in November 2020 over concerns that some of them may contain high-voltage batteries “that may pose a risk of fire when charged to full, or very close to full, capacity,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said at the time.

As part of the 2020 recall, the car’s manufacturer, General Motors, offered to have software inside the vehicles reprogrammed so that batteries could only be charged up to 90 percent of their original capacity.

Then, two Chevrolet Bolt EVs that had been serviced as part of that recall caught fire. One fire occurred this month in Vermont. The other occurred in New Jersey, a spokesman for GM told CNBC.

The owner of the vehicle in Vermont, Timothy Briglin, a state legislator, said his 2019 Chevrolet Bolt caught fire early on July 1 while it was plugged in and parked in his driveway. Although a news release from the Vermont State Police said the vehicle was “plugged in and charging when the fire was discovered,” Mr. Briglin said that was inaccurate. He said the vehicle was plugged in at 8 p.m. with about 10 percent left in the battery.

“The Bolt’s charging system said it would reach 100 percent charge by 3:30 to 4 a.m., at which time charging would cease,” Mr. Briglin said. The vehicle caught fire at 6:30 a.m., he said.

Mr. Briglin also said officials from General Motors and the traffic safety agency would be in Vermont on Friday to examine his vehicle.

General Motors, the manufacturer of the vehicles, said in a statement on Wednesday, “Safety is our highest priority, and we are moving as quickly as we can to investigate this issue.” Telephone and email messages sent to GM were not immediately returned on Wednesday evening.

The traffic safety administration said it was “looking into these latest fires.”

In March, nearly 380,000 Kia vehicles were recalled over concerns that electronic components inside certain vehicles could short-circuit and cause fires. Drivers of the Kia vehicles were told to watch for warning lights, a “burning/melting odor” or smoke from the engine compartment, in a safety recall report by the traffic safety agency.