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GM says Chevy Bolt EV battery production has resumed, defect leading to fire risk is fixed

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GM announced today that LG is resuming production of batteries for Chevy Bolt EV as the manufacturing defect leading to the fire risk has been fixed.

For months, we have been reporting on the mounting pressure to have GM recall the Bolt EV after several cars caught on fire while charging.

Everything pointed to a similar battery defect as Hyundai experienced with its LG batteries in the Kona EV, but while the Korean automaker recalled the vehicles to replace the batteries, GM resisted battery replacements.

In August, GM finally caved and announced that it will replace batteries in all 2017 to 2022 Bolt EVs.

As we reported at the time, GM put the blame on LG for the first time, and after extending the recall to even the most recent Bolt EVs in production, it raised questions about the current brand-new Bolt EV and EUVs being produced.

GM halted production of the electric vehicles until at least October as they said that "LG has yet to supply them with defect-free batteries".

Today, GM announced that LG has resumed battery production for the Chevy Bolt EV and EUV:

LG battery plants in Holland and Hazel Park, Michigan, have resumed production. In addition, LG is adding capacity to provide more cells to GM. As a result, replacement battery modules will begin shipping to dealers as soon as mid-October.

The root cause of the rare circumstances that could cause a battery fire is two manufacturing defects known as a torn anode and a folded separator, both of which need to be present in the same battery cell.

LG has implemented new manufacturing processes and has worked with GM to review and enhance its quality assurance programs to provide confidence in its batteries moving forward. LG will institute these new processes in other facilities that will provide cells to GM in the future.

The automaker still plans to resume production of the vehicles next month as the battery supply will be prioritized for replacements as part of its recall.

GM wrote today:

"GM 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 good news for owners is that the new batteries will include an extended battery 8-year/100,000-mile limited warranty.

Furthermore, the automaker also announced a new diagnostic software to launch in the next 60 days:

"The diagnostic software will be designed to detect specific abnormalities that might indicate a damaged battery in Bolt EVs and EUVs by monitoring the battery performance; alerting customers of any anomalies; and prioritizing damaged battery modules for replacement. It is GM's intent that further diagnostic software will allow customers to return to a 100 percent state of charge once all diagnostic processes are complete."

GM said that it is still negotiating with LG about contributing to the cost related to the recall.

The automaker has been communicating guidelines to current Bolt EV owners until they can get a battery replacement and they issued an update today:

GM guidelines for charging and parking Chevy Bolt EV

If customers are following GM's instructions issued below, they can park in a location of their choice. In an abundance of caution, GM recommends customers leave ample space around their vehicle wherever they choose to park. GM is not aware of any fires that have occurred where customers followed this safety guidance, in parking decks or otherwise.GM's instructions remain:

  1. 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.
  2. Charge the vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting battery below approximately 70 miles (113 km) of remaining range, where possible.
  3. Continue to park vehicles outside immediately after charging and do not leave vehicles charging indoors overnight.

Customers who have additional questions can visit www.chevy.com/boltevrecall or contact the Chevrolet EV Concierge 1-833-EVCHEVY (available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. - midnight ET; Saturday and Sunday, from noon - 9 p.m. ET) or contact their preferred Chevrolet EV dealer.

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