GM is issuing a voluntary recall of nearly 51,000 model-year 2017-19 Chevrolet Bolt EV hatchbacks for a potential fire risk with the battery pack. It’s GM’s second big recall of November, and it follows what GM says is an investigation done in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The automaker says the affected Bolt EVs carry high-voltage battery packs produced at LG Chem’s Ochang, South Korea, plant. The packs, which are located underneath the backseat bottom cushion, have the potential to smoke and ignite internally when at or near full charge even if the car is parked, turned off and disconnected from a charging unit. NHTSA said it has confirmed five known fires and two injuries, and at least one of the fires spread from the vehicle and ignited a home.
Chevrolet engineers are still working on a permanent fix, but in the interim, GM will issue a software update Nov. 17 that it says will limit a Bolt EV’s maximum charge to 90%; owners will need to visit a dealer to receive the update. Until the cars have been repaired, NHTSA advises parking them outside and away from homes to avoid the potential spread of a fire.
If you’re a Bolt EV owner and want to limit your charge manually before then, however, the processes differ slightly depending on your model year. In 2017-18 models, activate Hill Top Reserve by pushing the green Energy button on the multimedia system, then Energy Settings, then Hill Top Reserve and turn on. In 2019 models, tap the Energy button, then Charging, then Target Charge Level to hit the minus button twice and reduce the charging capacity to 90%.
Owners looking to keep track of the investigation’s progress can visit Chevrolet’s dedicated site, call 833-382-4389 or visit NHTSA’s website to check their vehicle identification number and learn more.