There have been three recent Chevy Bolt EV fires, two within the past 2 weeks. One in May which had the temporary recall, another July 1st which had the final software update in Vermont, and another with the final update in New Jersey in the past week or so. GM has updated their recall page with an acknowledgement of the problem, and is telling owners to not charge overnight at all, and not to park inside.
Here’s the updated recall notice:
JULY 14 2021 IMPORTANT UPDATE FROM GENERAL MOTORS
General Motors has been notified of two recent Chevrolet Bolt EV fire incidents in vehicles that were remedied as part of the safety recall announced in November 2020. Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking owners of 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt EVs who were part of the recall population to park their vehicles outdoors immediately after charging and not leave their vehicles charging overnight while we investigate these incidents.
Customers who have not had the remedy completed should still visit their dealer for the recall remedy while our investigation continues. At GM, safety is our highest priority, and we are moving as quickly as we can to investigate this issue. Customers should visit https://my.chevrolet.com/recalls or contact the Chevrolet EV Concierge 1-833-EVCHEVY or their preferred Chevrolet EV dealer.
Chevrolet page for the Chevy Bolt Fire Recall – emphasis ours
Our previous article went in depth on this situation to explain the current problem and risk levels.
A GM spokesperson has confirmed that there were 8 confirmed fires as of May 25th, with an additional five under investigation. This is upped from 8 confirmed with only one under investigation as of the end of April.
With the Virginia and Vermont fires, and now the New Jersey one known, plus that previous one under investigation – that means that there’s even another Bolt Fire since May that is under investigation as well.
The GM representative did want to clarify that the focus of the latest announcement is on unattended or unmonitored charging. Any charging should be able to be monitored, which is why they are now recommending to not charge overnight when people are asleep. He also mentioned that GM is fully cooperating and sharing information with the NHTSA, and will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure our safety.
The NHTSA has issued a Consumer Alert urging owners to do the same.
First off, I do want to commend GM for doing this, and relatively quickly.
This is an interesting development. On the surface it seems like not much – it’s just acting out of caution. But big companies don’t take these steps unless they feel like there actually is a problem. GM, in particular, has not been particularly forthcoming with details with the recall. Although they did make a big deal about the initial recall, information was sparse after that. We had to ask them repeatedly in order to get a February update, and again in April.
Having the NHTSA issue a formal consumer alert is also very bad publicity.
What’s really interesting is that this is a more aggressive notice than they used last time. It’s not only to park outdoors this time, it’s to not charge overnight at all. The focus is on being able to monitor the charge, presumably so that if a fire occurs you can safely evacuate. This is why they don’t want you to charge and then go to sleep.
This would appear to be an acknowledgement that they have a problem with charging, and that’s a major problem for owners. One of the biggest benefits of an electric vehicle is that you plug in overnight, and leave in the morning at a full charge. If owners cannot charge overnight anymore, how are they supposed to use their vehicles if they have more than a minor commute?
The fact that they are taking this step also implies that they do not have faith that their software is able to prevent the conditions that can lead to fire, even with post-charge monitoring.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.