Products Liability Law Daily GM recalls over 50K Chevrolet Bolt vehicles for risk of battery fire
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Monday, November 16, 2020

GM recalls over 50K Chevrolet Bolt vehicles for risk of battery fire

By Susan Engstrom

NHTSA urges owners of the affected vehicles to park their cars outside and away from their homes until repairs have been made.

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling approximately 50,932 2017-2018 and certain 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles because the high voltage battery could catch fire when charged to full or nearly full capacity. The company cautions that a battery fire increases the risk of injury (NHTSA Recall Notice, No. 20V701, Report receipt date: November 13, 2020).

NHTSA consumer alert. In a consumer alert issued late last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warned that 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. According to the agency, these vehicles can catch fire even if they are turned off, parked, and disconnected from a charging unit. NHTSA has confirmed five known fires with two injuries; at least one of the fires spread from the vehicle and ignited a home. Until these recalled vehicles have been repaired, the safest place to park them is outside and away from homes, the agency said.

NHTSA has opened a defect investigation into this issue.

Remedy. GM will notify owners and, as an interim repair beginning on November 17, 2020, dealers will reprogram the hybrid propulsion control module 2 (HPCM2) to limit the full charge to 90 percent, free of charge. Owners are advised to activate either the Hill Top Reserve (2017 and 2018 models) or Target Charge Level (2019 models) feature in their vehicle to limit the charge level to 90 percent, or park outside, until the software update is completed. The final remedy is still under development. Owners will be notified of the interim repair beginning November 23, 2020. A second notice will be mailed when the final repair becomes available.

Contact information. Owners may contact the Bolt EV Concierge Team at 1-833-382-4389. GM's number for this recall is N202311730. Owners also may contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), or go to www.safercar.gov.

Companies: General Motors LLC

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