DETROIT, Mich. — General Motors Co. has issued a voluntary recall of 68,667 Chevrolet Bolt EVs manufactured worldwide between 2017 and 2019, while the Detroit automaker works to determine the source of multiple battery fires.
The models being recalled have high-voltage batteries manufactured at a Korean LG Chem plant and appear to pose a fire risk when fully charged or close to full capacity, The Hill reported.
According to the company, at least five fire incidents involving the electric vehicle model have been reported.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently investigating three of the five fires and confirmed to The Detroit News that nearly 51,000 of the affected vehicles are located in the United States.
In addition, General Motors has also fielded two reports of smoke-inhalation injuries associated with the five fires, the newspaper reported.
“The safety of our products is the highest priority for the entire GM and Chevrolet team. We are working around the clock on our continued investigation,” Jesse Ortega, executive chief engineer for the Bolt EV, said in a video posted to the Chevrolet website.
Specifically, the recall will require dealerships to reflash the affected vehicles' battery software, limiting the maximum charge to 90%, Ortega stated in the video.
“We believe this action will reduce the risk of battery fire while we work to identify the issue and determine the appropriate final repair. We expect this software update to be available beginning Nov. 17,” Ortega stated.
In the short term, anyone driving a 2017 or 2018 Bolt is encouraged to change their settings to use “hilltop reserve,” and drivers of 2019 Bolt EVs “should use the target charge-level option and set the maximum capacity to 90%,” the company stated.
Meanwhile, anyone unable to make the recommended changes is encouraged to not park the vehicle in a garage or carport until a dealership visit can be arranged.
“We recommend scheduling a service appointment with your dealership beginning Nov. 17 to update the vehicle’s battery software to automatically limit the maximum state of charge to 90%. Our engineers are working around the clock to identify a permanent fix, and we intend to deploy a final remedy to remove the 90% limitation as quickly as possible after the first of the year, 2021,” Chevrolet stated on its website.
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