GM issues safety warning for recalled Bolt EV units over potential fire risk

General Motors (GM) has issued a warning to 2017-2019 Chevy Bolt EV owners whose vehicles were recently part of a recall. According to the automaker, Bolt EV drivers should not park their vehicles inside a garage or charge them unattended overnight due to a potential fire risk. Two vehicles that were part of the recall have so far caught fire. 

The two Chevy Bolt EVs that burned up were part of a recall involving almost 69,000 vehicles for possible fire risks. Initial announcements from the recall were posted back in November 2020 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and General Motors. 

Strangely enough, the two Bolt EVs that recently caught fire have already been repaired as part of the recall. One of the incidents was reported earlier this month in Vermont while the vehicle was charging at the home of its owner. A GM spokesperson has told CNBC that the other fire happened in New Jersey, and that the automaker had been notified of the incident earlier this week. 

The automaker has issued the following statement: 

“General Motors has been notified of two recent Chevrolet Bolt EV fire incidents in vehicles that were remedied as part of the safety recall announced in November 2020. Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking owners of 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt EVs who were part of the recall population to park their vehicles outdoors immediately after charging and not leave their vehicles charging overnight while we investigate these incidents,” GM wrote. 

As per the NHTSA on Wednesday, Chevy Bolt EV battery packs in the affected vehicles may smoke and ignite internally. If this were to happen while the car is inside a structure such as a closed garage, the flames could spread and cause a structure fire. GM, for its part, has stated that Bolt EV owners whose vehicles are part of the recall should still drop by their dealer, even as the investigation over the recent fires continues. 

“At GM, safety is our highest priority, and we are moving as quickly as we can to investigate this issue,” the automaker said. 

It should be noted that while electric vehicle fires tend to make a lot of news, EVs generally catch fire far less frequently than their internal combustion engine-powered counterparts. Tesla, a carmaker that exclusively produces electric vehicles, noted in its 2020 Vehicle Safety Report that there had been one Tesla fire for every 205 million miles traveled. In comparison, data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation noted that there is one vehicle fire for every 19 million miles traveled. 

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GM issues safety warning for recalled Bolt EV units over potential fire risk
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