GM Finally Reveals Chevy Bolt EV Battery Defects: It Will Recall All Cars

GM Expands Chevrolet Bolt EV Recall, Blames LGES for the Mess 6 photos
Photo: GM and Vermont State Police
Tim Briglin's Chevrolet Bolt EV After a FireHyundai Kona Electric Catches Fire in South KoreaHyundai Kona Electric Catches Fire in OsloGM Expands Chevrolet Bolt EV Recall, Blames LGES for the MessGM Expands Chevrolet Bolt EV Recall, Blames LGES for the Mess
When we thought the GM recall for the Chevrolet Bolt EV would not give us anything else to write about, the company surprised us. It had finally decided to replace the defective battery modules without disclosing what caused the fires. In an unusual twist, GM agreed to say they happened due to a torn anode tab and a folded separator, which can affect not only the vehicles initially included in the recall, but all Bolt EV and Bolt EUV ever produced.
It is not clear if the Opel Ampera-e is included in the recall, but it should be. As far as we know, the European version of the Bolt EV was also produced at the GM Orion plant, side by side with its American sibling and with the same battery packs.

According to GM, the expansion of the recall will cost $1 billion more. That means the company will spend $1.8 billion fixing all the battery packs that may present the defects. The automaker said they are now 141,685 units in total.

That number includes the 68,667 cars from model years 2017 up to 2019 initially recalled, 9,335 2019 Bolt EVs that were not on the first list, and 63,683 2020 up to 2022 Bolt EVs and Bolt EUVs. Among these vehicles, 1,212 2019 Bolt EVs and 9,019 2020 to 2022 Bolt EVs and Bolt EUVs are in Canada.

Redoing the calculation we presented with the previous recall, GM will spend around $12,700 on each EV by replacing the defective battery packs. The main difference here is that GM is not taking things lightly with LGES (LG Energy Solution). The automaker clearly said that it is “is pursuing commitments from LG for reimbursement of this field action.”

While some think this will damage GM’s reputation in making electric cars, LGES is the company that really has to fix things related to this episode. The Chevrolet Bolt EV is not the first vehicle to present manufacturing issues with batteries supplied by the South Korean company.

Hyundai also blamed LGES for the Kona Electric fires due to a folded anode tab from components made in its Nanjing factory in China. GM gets its batteries from LGES’s factory in Ochang, South Korea, but the automaker said it “discovered manufacturing defects in certain battery cells” made elsewhere.

A Kona Electric caught fire in Norway, and it was not included in Hyundai’s recall for it. We asked Hyundai about where it was produced, but the company did not get back to us. It may have been manufactured in Nošovice, Czechia, with LGES batteries made in Poland. Until that blaze, we thought that only the cars with South Korean batteries were subject to fires.

LGES is a relevant battery supplier to the automotive industry. Apart from GM and Hyundai, it also supplies its lithium-ion cells to Volkswagen. With so many different manufacturing defects happening in various plants, the South Korean supplier will have to work hard to make up for them.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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