GM issued a slightly strange recall last year for 68,667 Chevy Bolts that may or may not catch fire while parked. It said at the time that it had only a temporary fix for the issue; GM said Thursday it now has a permanent one.
The recall affected Bolts in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 model years. At issue were five cases of Bolts catching fire when fully charged, apparently because of a defect in the batteries made by GM’s supplier, LG Chem. GM recommended in November that Bolt owners take steps to make sure the batteries charge to no more than 90 percent while GM searched for a fix.
Fast forward to today, via The Detroit News:
GM’s experts concluded a “rare manufacturing defect in certain battery modules in vehicles from these production years” led to the fires, GM spokesman Dan Flores said in a statement to The Detroit News. That defect could cause “a heat source or a short in a cell, which could propagate into a fire.”
To fix the issue, the automaker created tools for “dealers to diagnose battery issues as well as advanced onboard diagnostic software that, among other things, has the ability to detect potential issues related to changes in battery module performance before they become potential problems during vehicle operation and charging,” Flores said.
Customers with the affected Bolts will have to visit a participating Chevrolet EV dealer to have the remedy completed. After the fix is in place, Bolt drivers will be able to charge to 100%.
GM said it is also putting this new software in 2022 Bolt EVs and Bolt EUVs, in addition to — eventually — every Bolt not covered by the recall whose owner wants it. Owners of recalled Bolts should contact their local dealer to see when their update is available. The rollout is phased, with 2019 Bolts eligible Thursday and 2017-2018 Bolts eligible starting sometime late next month.
This is, of course, how more and more recalls are going to look in the electric age: With a software update, a process that should be familiar to anyone who has used a computer or smartphone for the past 30 years. Isn’t the future great.