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General Motors has extended a recall for its Chevy Bolt EV to all cars with that make it has produced on concerns about the combustibility of their batteries.
The company said the battery of the Bolt may, in rare cases, have two manufacturing defects in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire. To avoid fires, GM is recalling some 73,000 cars, including 2021 and 2022 models, on top of the previous partial recall of 69,000 older Bolt models.
The recall is expected to cost GM close to $2 billion and casts a shadow over the all-electric future that GM and its fellow automakers are painting for themselves. The company has ensured Bolt owners that it will replace their risky batteries with new, safer ones, with an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty.
The company has blamed the twin defect in the Bolt batteries on its battery supplier, LG, and has noted that it will seek compensation for the faulty components.
In the meantime, however, GM has a warning for Bolt owners: they should limit charging their vehicles at a maximum of 90 percent, charge them more frequently, and try to avoid depleting the battery to less than 70 miles of range. In addition, GM is advising Bolt owners that they should charge their electric vehicle outside or take it outside immediately after charging.
“Our focus on safety and doing the right thing for our customers guides every decision we make at GM,” said Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “As leaders in the transition to an all-electric future, we know that building and maintaining trust is critical. GM customers can be confident in our commitment to taking the steps to ensure the safety of these vehicles.”
NBC quoted the lead auto analyst of Guidehouse Insights as saying the actual fires involving Chevy Bolts represented just 0.006 percent of all Bolts on the roads. This compared with 0.07 percent of gasoline and diesel cars on U.S. roads catching fire in 2018.
“Yes, we’ve seen some battery fires, but the numbers are small, and they need to be put into perspective,” Sam Abuelsamid said.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.