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GM extends Chevy Bolt production delay, NHTSA closes battery fire investigation

UAW Local 5960 member Kimberly Fuhr inspects a Chevrolet Bolt EV during vehicle production on Thursday, May 6, 2021, at the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant in Orion Township, Michigan. (Photo by Steve Fecht for Chevrolet)

General Motors announced that Chevrolet Bolt EV production halt will last through March and will extend until early April. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) closed its October 2020 investigation into the Bolt EV for battery-related fires earlier this month.

In July, GM issued a warning to 2017-2019 model year Chevrolet Bolt EV owners, stating a potential risk of fires had been reported after some owners had reported their vehicles had spontaneously blazed. Later that month, GM extended the recall and planned to fix “the simultaneous presence of two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell” in 69,000 Bolts worldwide, with 51,000 of the affected population being located in the United States. Owners were advised not to park near other cars, not to park indoors, and to limit their state of charge to 90 percent in some instances.

Chevrolet Bolt EV owners may have trouble with parking after battery recalls

Following several delays in the recall process, GM eventually shared that it would halt production lines of the Bolt at the Orion Assembly Plant in Michigan. Initial projections expected the production halt to last until early 2022. However, GM has now extended the Bolt production halt for a third time, stating earlier today that it would not re-enter manufacturing until early April.

The automaker said it plans to resume production on the week of April 4.

The October 2020 investigation into the Bolt EV fires has officially been closed by the NHTSA. Reuters indicates the NHTSA had reviewed reports of 24 Bolt fires, while GM said it only suspected 18 of the fires were linked to the battery defects. NHTSA documents recovered by Teslarati show the Bolt EV investigation was officially closed on February 7.

Any Bolt EV built after the projected April 4 production resume will qualify for immediate delivery. All recalled vehicles on dealer lots will need to have battery packs replaced before they can be sold or returned to customers.

GM recently announced plans to increase the production output of several of its vehicles, including the GMC Hummer EV and the Cadillac Lyriq SUV. GM planned to build just 7,000 units of these two vehicles and the new Chevrolet Silverado EV this year. GM increased the output capacity to 46,000 units in 2022.

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GM extends Chevy Bolt production delay, NHTSA closes battery fire investigation
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