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General Motors recalls new Chevrolet Bolt electric cars due to risk of battery fire

General Motors handled this whole process disastrously. The battery cells are produced in the same factory as the Hyundai Kona MY2019 cells and both Hyundai and GM thought they could fix it with a simple software fix.

Soon after the repair at Hyundai, a few cars caught fire again, after which Hyundai, under pressure from the Korean government, eventually proceeded fairly quickly to come up with a plan in which all affected battery packs would be replaced.

On the other hand, GM continued to believe in software solutions. But these kinds of hardware errors, in which a separator layer has been applied incorrectly in the battery, cannot be fixed by software. You can’t prevent the battery from igniting with the software either. But GM is still trying.

And when, after the second, final, update of another car that had received all the software updates caught fire, GM began thinking again about how to solve this problem at the lowest possible cost. I’m still unaware that, over a year after the problem was discovered, the only solution is to completely replace the battery pack. Because what did they come up with next? They were in the process of doing diagnostics for the different modules so they could figure out which battery modules would have bad cells and then replace those modules.

What appears now? GM can’t tell the bad from the good units, so I eventually made the decision to swap out the battery units. And yes, only the units, not the complete package. So garages will have to dismantle the liquid-cooled packs themselves to access the units without well-trained personnel because GM believes this is cheaper than shipping entire battery packs and refurbishing them in a central location.

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And to round out the party, a few days ago the Bolt EV MY2020 caught fire for the first time, the first self-igniting Bolt with a battery not made in Korea, but in the States. The cause of the fire is not yet known, although I hope GM will not be the beginning of problems with batteries produced in America.