General Motors announced that battery production for the Chevy Bolt EV is once again underway. Battery production resumed on Monday, the automaker said, and outlined a course of action to “ensure that customers can safely and confidently drive, charge, and park the Chevy Bolt EV and EUV.”
Over the past twelve months, the Bolt EV has had three recalls related to battery issues that have caused combustion in some instances. During the July recall, the second related to battery problems, GM announced that “the simultaneous presence of two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell” caused an increased risk of battery fires. The recall affected around 69,000 cars worldwide.
GM then doubled down on the recall in late August, announcing that it had temporarily halted production of the Bolt altogether. GM spokesman Daniel Flores commented:
“We will not resume repairs or restart production until we are confident LG is producing defect-free products for us.”
As of now, manufacturing of the Bolt EV has not resumed, only the production of the battery cells that the vehicle utilizes.
The recalls set GM back around $1.8 billion so far this year and led to a widespread case of paranoia among those who saw the vehicles on the road. A parking lot in San Francisco actually prohibited Bolt EVs from parking at their facility due to the battery issues.
Now, GM has announced that production has resumed for Bolt EV batteries. Due to an updated manufacturing process and new advanced diagnostics software from GM, there is now confidence from the Detroit-based automaker that the worst of the issues are now behind them. “We’re grateful for the patience of owners and dealers as we work to advance solutions to this recall,” GM Executive VP of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, Doug Parks, said. “Resuming battery module production is a first step and we’ll continue to work aggressively with LG to obtain additional battery supply. In addition, we’re optimistic a new advanced diagnostic software will provide more convenience for our customers.”
The Bolt EV utilizes cells from battery supplier LG, which operates cell production plants in Holland and Michigan. Both facilities have resumed production and replacement battery modules will be shipped to dealers “as soon as mid-October,” the company said. LG has worked with GM to initiate and implement a new plan of attack that will recognize and identify defects in battery cells, providing confidence in the batteries moving forward.
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In terms of the replacement process of the affected population, GM said it will “continue to prioritize Chevy Bolt EV and EUV customers whose batteries were manufactured during specific build timeframes where GM believes battery defects appear to be clustered. The company has established a notification process that will inform affected customers when their replacement modules will be available.” The new batteries will include an extended warranty as well: 8-year/100,000-mile limited warranty (8-year/160,000 km limited warranty in Canada).
Additionally, GM will launch a new advanced diagnostic software that will roll out within approximately 60 days. The software will detect specific abnormalities that might indicate a damaged or defective battery in either the Bolt EV or EUV, alerting customers of abnormalities. GM plans to allow owners to return to 100% state of charge once diagnostic processes are completed. For now, the company states that owners should do the following:
- Set the vehicle to a 90 percent state of charge limitation using Target Charge Level mode. Instructions on how to do this are available on chevy.com/boltevrecall. If customers are unable to successfully make these changes or do not feel comfortable making these changes, GM is asking them to visit their dealer to have these adjustments completed.
- Charge the vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting battery below approximately 70 miles (113 km) of remaining range, where possible.
- Continue to park vehicles outside immediately after charging and do not leave vehicles charging indoors overnight.