In November 2020, a new recall came to light—literally. The Chevy Bolt recall affected upwards of 69,000 units of the electric vehicle.

This recall causes vehicle fires, so it’s a lot more dangerous than other major vehicle recalls (including the Ford headlight recall that affected more than 217,000 trucks).

Lithium batteries are to blame for the Chevy Bolt recall

According to experts, the lithium-ion batteries within certain Chevy Bolt models are prone to spontaneous fires. This past October, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into the matter. 

The resulting evidence suggested that the fires began under the rear seats, while the lithium batteries held a full charge (or nearly full charge).

All the problematic batteries had something else in common, too. They were all manufactured at a South Korean LG Chem facility.

The Chevy Bolt recall affected model years 2017–2019. 

A handful of fires have been reported, and one of the fires actually went on to ignite a house. Unfortunately, GM has yet to resolve the issue—but in the meantime is setting batteries to cap at a 90% charge.

Typically, lithium-ion batteries are a low maintenance solution for emission-free vehicles like the compact Chevy Bolt EV. This is due to its high energy density that doubles the density of nickel-cadmium counterparts. 

Unfortunately, these particular lithium batteries didn’t prove to be quite so low-maintenance after all.

Chevy Bolt sales have fluctuated this year

In the second quarter of 2020, Chevy Bolt sales had decreased by about 37% compared to the same period of the year prior. This combatted the model’s increased Q1 sales to basically even out for the first half of the year.

By the third quarter, the Bolt had seen a 17.6% year-over-year increase in sales.

This isn’t GM’s only major recall

Recently, GM has had to deal with another dangerous (and expensive) recall. The company had to recall millions of vehicles containing Takata airbags, which have a history of spewing shrapnel and posing a risk to vehicle passengers. 

Takata has since gone bankrupt, but not before costing the auto manufacturing giant a hefty $1.2 billion in recall fees.

Check the NHTSA recall list here.

Rachel Curry
"Hey! My name's Rachel Curry and I'm a full-time writer who loves telling the world's stories as much as hanging with my dogs (and that's saying a lot). A University of Delaware graduate, I've traveled extensively, living everywhere from Ireland to Thailand. Bylines include Matador Network and Delaware Today."

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    5 Comments

    1. This could easily bring a lot of worry for people that were on the fence with electric cars.

    2. This is a biggie. Quite scary to be honest. it is a good idea to check if your vehicle has any recalls before jumping on a road trip for the holidays.

    3. Takata airbags and now this!
      Thats gotta hurt
      Whats next?

    4. GM has been on a steady decline with quality levels. I like the way the Camaro looks, but I dont feel that GM is the same level of quality that existed 20 years ago.

    5. Bad news for the EV ecosystem. We need safer batteries!

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