General Motors is taking precaution and has begun alerting customers who purchased early-production Chevrolet Bolts that they may experience sudden loss of propulsion in certain low-voltage conditions.
According to a GM spokesperson in an email with Jalopnik, the issue involves the potential for the Bolt to “incorrectly report remaining range at low states of charge and lose propulsion before the customer expects,” which is clearly not ideal. GM claims the issue has only been recorded on less than one percent of over 10,000 Bolts sold, and is more likely with early production models.
The issue was also reported by Brad Berman of PluginCars.com, a Bolt owner, who claimed that his vehicle came to a sudden stop in the middle of the road after incorrectly indicating more than 100 miles left of range earlier this month. Here’s more from Berman’s report:
The behavior of the vehicle was not like driving an EV with a depleted battery, as I have experienced in other electric vehicles. In those cases—sometimes referred to as “turtle mode”—the power output is reduced, enabling the driver to travel at a reduced speed for a couple of miles or at least safely move to the side of the road before the battery is fully depleted.
Instead, in the Bolt, I was left behind the wheel of a disabled vehicle (in the middle of a curvy road where vehicles often zip around so-called blind corners). The car could be powered up but not shifted into Drive or Reverse. After multiple failed attempts to shift into Drive after restarting the car, I shifted into Neutral and rolled down a slight incline to reposition the car more safely on the side of the road (although blocking a neighbor’s driveway).
Berman claims his tow truck driver informed him it was the third Chevy Bolt he had been tasked with picking up in just a matter of days. Berman also said his local Chevy dealer on had just one EV specialist, so it took two days to diagnose the issue and another two weeks for a new battery pack to be installed and his Bolt returned to him.
GM is using the OnStar system equipped in the Chevy Bolt to try and diagnose which vehicles are affected by the battery failure issue, and have reached out to “fewer than a couple hundred customers,” according to Kevin Kelly, senior manager for advanced technology communications at General Motors, in an interview with PluginCars.
The owners of the potentially affected Bolts should have their vehicle inspected, and GM will likely replace the entire battery pack if a fault is detected for engineers to run full diagnostics. Any costs associated with servicing the batteries will be covered by the company, so it would seem GM is taking the correct precaution to avoid the possibility of any more Bolts randomly shutting down and stranding drivers in the middle of the road.