GM is recalling 68,667 Chevy Bolts due to several battery fires. The vehicles affected by the recall were manufactured between 2017 and 2019 according to The Detroit News.
Now the carmaker is working with the US regulatory bodies to identify the causes of the fires. There were at least five incidents of fires involving Chevy Bolts with fully charged or almost fully charged batteries.
Three of them are under investigation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). GM has also had two reports of injuries due to smoke inhalation. The batteries in the affected vehicles were manufactured by LG Chem in its Ochang, South Korea facility.
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“The affected vehicles’ cell packs have the potential to smoke and ignite internally, which could spread to the rest of the vehicle and cause a structure fire if parked inside a garage or near a house,” the NHTSA said in a statement. The agency reports that 50,932 of the affected vehicles are based in the US. Also, it’s advising Chevy Bolt owners to keep their vehicles parked outside.
Meanwhile, GM says it has developed software to keep the vehicle’s battery from charging to 90 per cent of full capacity. The measure is to prevent future occurrences. It’s also tasking Chevy dealerships with updating their customers’ vehicle battery software from 17th November 2020 to limit the maximum state of charge to 90 per cent.
“We believe this action will reduce the risk of a vehicle fire, while we continue working around the clock to identify the root cause. And we intend to deploy a final solution to restore as much battery capacity as possible, after the first of the year,” a Chevy spokesperson said.
Chevy Bolt owners can also change the charge settings on their vehicles themselves. They can either enable ‘Hilltop Reserve’ (for 2017 and 2018 model year vehicles) or ‘Target Charge Level’ (for 2019 model year vehicles). They can make these changes via their vehicle’s infotainment center. This change will temporarily limit the vehicle’s state of charge to 90 per cent. The company also advises customers to pay a visit to their dealers.
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