Technology

Chevrolet Bolt recall: what are the repercussions?

The recall of the Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV from 2017 to 2022 due to the risk of battery fire after the vehicle has been parked, which has been in operation since November 2020, could drive potential buyers away from the brand, but it doesn’t seem to affect popularity. of electric vehicles.

General Motors first recalled electric Chevrolet Bolts from 2017 to 2019 in November 2020 due to a manufacturing defect in the battery that could overheat and catch fire. In August 2021, the recall was extended to Bolt EV and EUV 2017 to 2022, which is all of Bolt’s production years since its debut. In total, the recall affects approximately 125,000 vehicles in the United States and more than 18,000 in Canada.

The recall follows a series of Bolts fires – at least 12 have been identified in the southern United States.

After attempting corrective action, Chevrolet’s Canadian wing announced in September the replacement of all Bolt batteries from model years 2017 to 2019. This massive replacement could eventually extend to all electric model years.

Chevrolet claims that the manufacturing process for the battery packs supplied by Korea’s LG Chem has been revised to prevent overheating. The problem was with a damaged anode and a bent spacer inside the cells of a battery.

In attendant les reparations, General Motors conseille aux propriétaires de Chevrolet Bolt de ne pas recharger leur vehicule au-delà de 90% of sa capacity, de conserver une autonomie de 113 km ou plus et d’éviter de stationner le véhicule à l’intérieur overnight.

A damaged reputation?

The Bolt is not the only electric vehicle that has problems. In the spring of 2021, Hyundai launched a second recall wave, after the one in fall 2020, in relation to the fires aboard the Kona EV and IONIQ EV. In some electric vehicles, the high-voltage battery may short-circuit while driving or parking the vehicle and while charging.

These recalls do not currently have negative effects on the electric car, according to the president of the Association of electric vehicles of Quebec (AVEQ), Simon-Pierre Rioux.

The Bolt’s reputation doesn’t appear to be damaged either, based on what he saw at the Montreal Electric Vehicle Show in September. “People see the Chevrolet Bolt as an affordable option that offers great range and meets their needs. So even though there was a recall at the time, people were moving forward to order the new Bolt EV or its utility variant, the Bolt EUV. ”

Expected drop in sales?

Sales of Bolt EV and EUV also appear to be affected by the recalls. The general manager of the Lussier Chevrolet dealership in Saint-Hyacinthe, Stéphane Grenier, points out that only one order (of the 50 cars parked in the yard of the establishment) had been canceled by its buyer.

“In addition to the 50 units already reserved, we already have more than 100 additional orders. That’s a lot, because our dealership delivers between 300 and 400 units of the model per year, ”he adds, specifying that the prohibition issued by General Motors to deliver the 50 reserved units it had in stock has impacted sales, especially for a year. pandemic when global semiconductor shortages are limiting new vehicle inventory at dealerships.

George Iny, director of the Automobile Protection Association (APA), remains convinced of the relevance of the Chevrolet Bolt in the market. “It remains an interesting and affordable electric vehicle that, until the start of the recall campaign, had generated very few complaints from owners. (…) I think that once production has restarted and the new batteries are available, sales will start again. “

Chevrolet, which stopped producing the Bolt EV and EUV in August, will resume manufacturing in mid-October at the Orion plant in Michigan.

>> Read also: How to choose a charging station for electric vehicles

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