After a series of recalls that we have documented here on Zero Hedge, General Motors looks to be taking its precautions with the Chevy Bolt one step further: the automaker is asking Bolt owners to park "at least 50 feet" from other vehicles if you're going to leave your car in a parking deck.
GM spokesman Dan Flores, who we're sure isn't getting paid enough to deliver this line with a straight face, said this week: "In an effort to reduce potential damage to structures and nearby vehicles in the rare event of a potential fire, we recommend parking on the top floor or on an open-air deck and park 50 feet or more away from another vehicle. Additionally, we still request you do not leave your vehicle charging unattended, even if you are using a charging station in a parking deck."
"We are aware of 12 GM confirmed battery fires that have been investigated involving Bolt EVs vehicles in the previous and new recall population," he continued, telling The Detroit News. "We're still working with LG around the clock to resolve the issue. Both companies understand the urgency to move as quickly as possible, but, again, the most important thing here is we have to get this right."
Recall, back in July, General Motors issued their second recall for the Chevy Bolt after it announced that two Bolts had caught fire without impact and that at least one of the two was related to the battery and happened despite the owner getting a fix from a previous recall.
The second recall included all Bolt EVs from 2017 to 2019, encompassing 68,000 vehicles. 50,925 of those vehicles were located in the U.S. and they have batteries that are produced at LG Chem’s Ochang, South Korea, facility, the report notes.
A spokesman for GM said earlier this summer: "As part of GM’s commitment to safety, experts from GM and LG have identified the simultaneous presence of two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell as the root cause of battery fires in certain Chevrolet Bolt EVs. As part of this recall, GM will replace defective battery modules in the recall population. We will notify customers when replacement parts are ready."
GM, at the time, was recommending that owners:
- Return the vehicle to the 90% state of charge limitation using Hilltop Reserve mode (for 2017-2018 model years) or Target Charge Level mode (for 2019 model year), or visit a dealer to make that change.
- Charge the vehicle after each use and avoid depleting the battery below 70 miles of remaining range.
- Park the vehicle outside immediately after charging and do not leave the vehicle charging overnight.
- Customers who have not received the advanced diagnostics software should visit their dealer to get the update. After obtaining the software, limit the state of charge to 90% and follow the advice above.
We're guessing those rules still run concurrent with the new "50 foot" rule.
Back in November of 2020, tens of thousands of Chevrolet Bolt vehicles were first recalled after the company became aware of "five fires involving the cars" that resulted in two injuries from smoke inhalation.
A notice was issued in November for 50,932 of the vehicles in the U.S. dating from 2017 to 2019. General Motors said the battery could “catch fire when charged to full or nearly full capacity,” at the time.
As a temporary fix, the company said it would be reprogramming its battery's “hybrid propulsion control module 2” to only allow charging to 90%.
"This fix clearly looks as though it didn't work and the company will likely now be forced to take more drastic measures." we said about the recall in July. Apparently, we were right.
GM CFO Paul Jacobson commented last Friday at an RBC conference: "The number one focus right now obviously is to get the production line fixed, the manufacturing process cleaned up and get back into cell production and ultimately get a path for these vehicles to be repaired and ... do what's right for our customers."