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Fire Hazard: General Motors changes batteries on all Chevrolet Bolt

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The US automaker General Motors is expanding its recall program for the Chevrolet Bolt e-car to include all copies built. Out of a “maximum of caution”, GM is now calling back the models built and sold internationally from 2019 in order to replace the batteries. Another 73,000 vehicles are affected, the group announced on Friday and put the additional costs at around one billion US dollars (855 million euros).

GM had previously called the 69,000 bolts produced from 2017 to 2019 to the workshop several times after a defective battery had caused a fire in some vehicles. According to the Notification from the manufacturer Individual battery cells manufactured by LG Chem in Korea may have had two defects that could lead to a short circuit and fire. The defects concern the flat plug on the anode and the separator layer. A total of 10 copies of the electric car have caught fire so far, said a spokesman for the AP news agency.

General Motors initially assumed that the defects only occurred in batteries manufactured by LG Chem in the factory in Ochang, South Korea. In the meantime, however, defects have also occurred in younger models whose batteries were produced by LG Chem in the USA. In the meantime, LG Chem has outsourced its battery production to LG Energy Solutions.

When it was first recalled in November 2020, the cause had not yet been found. Because the fires occurred when the batteries were fully charged, the vehicles initially received a software update that limited the charge to 90 percent. In addition, the manufacturer recommended that the battery of the Bolt not run below a quarter of the charge capacity, which significantly limits the range of the car.

After the technical cause of the fires had been found, GM had called the older Bolts back to the workshops in May and installed another software update. The batteries should only be examined for possible defects and replaced if necessary when there is another recall in July. The company had put the costs for the first recalls of the Bolt at around 800 million US dollars.

With the new recall, General Motors is expanding the exchange program to include all Bolt models. Their batteries should now be completely replaced regardless of the existence of a defect. GM gives a guarantee of eight years and 160,000 kilometers on the new batteries.

In October 2020, Hyundai first recalled the Kona manufactured in South Korea due to the risk of fire and tried to get a grip on it with a software update. After all, the manufacturer recalled all Kona and Ioniq Elektro models around the world in February to replace the batteries. Their manufacturer LG Energy Solutions had contradicted reports that the cause was defective battery cells.


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