Chevy Bolt battery recall expanded by GM to every Bolt sold worldwide

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GM is expanding the recall campaign for its Chevrolet Bolt EV to include every example of the car sold worldwide since its introduction in 2018, to address a battery problem that has been blamed for multiple vehicle fires.

The Associated Press reported that the recall announced Friday adds about 73,000 Bolts from the 2019 through 2022 model years to a previous recall of 69,000 older Bolts. Autoblog has reached out to GM for further clarification as to the impacted models.

Some owners' cars have already been recalled twice for the same potential battery fire issue, and customers are still being urged to carefully monitor their cars' state of charge and park them outside when possible.

In April, GM announced that it had developed diagnostic software to look for anomalies identified in a November recall spurred by reports of multiple battery fires. Two people suffered smoke inhalation and a house was set ablaze.

GM and battery supplier LG Chem together determined that batteries that caught fire were near a full state of charge. As a temporary fix, owners and dealers were told to make software changes to limit charging to 90% of a battery’s capacity. GM traced the fires to what it called a rare manufacturing defect in battery modules which can cause a short in a cell, triggering a fire.

The recall came after the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the fires last year. The agency said in documents that the fires began under the rear seat while the cars were parked and unattended.

Engineers had originally determined that only Bolts with battery packs manufactured at LG Chem's factory in Ochang, South Korea, from May 2016 to May 2019 posed a fire risk, but this recent expansion will include models with battery packs supplied by LG CHem's Holland, Michigan, facility. Previously, these were not considered high-risk.

The ongoing recall of the Chevy Bolt hit GM's earnings prospects to the tune of nearly $1 billion, the company said when it announced its second-quarter financial results. GM's total losses due to ongoing recalls company-wide was estimated at $1.3 billion, meaning the Bolt campaign alone accounts for more than 60% of GM's current recall-related costs. CEO Mary Barra noted that the company's new Ultium battery architecture is unaffected by the issue in question with the Bolt.

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