GM issues new recall for nearly 69,000 Bolt EVs for fire risks


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The new GM logo is seen on the facade of the General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., March 16, 2021. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo/File Photo

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Motors Co (NYSE:) said Friday it is issuing a new recall for nearly 69,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles (EVs) worldwide for fire risks after reports of two new fires.

The Bolt EVs were recalled in November for fire risks and at least one of the two new fires was in a vehicle that had already had the software update released as part of the recall.

The recall comes after GM and U.S. safety regulators last week urged those owners to park vehicles outside and away from homes after charging.

The largest U.S. automaker said “experts from GM and (battery maker) LG have identified the simultaneous presence of two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell as the root cause of battery fires in certain Chevrolet Bolt EVs.”

GM said it will replace defective battery modules in the recall population but it is not clear how many are defective. The recall includes 50,925 U.S. vehicles.

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urged those 50,925 Bolt owners to park outside and away from homes and other structures after charging because of fire risks.

The Chevrolet Bolt vehicles being recalled again are from the 2017-2019 model years and were first recalled for the potential of an unattended fire in the high-voltage battery pack underneath the backseat’s bottom cushion.

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GM said Friday that all of the nearly 69,000 Bolt owners should return vehicles to a 90% state of charge limitation that the company first instructed owners to use in November before the recall fix had been completed.

The automaker also asked owners to charge their vehicle after each use and avoid depleting their battery below approximately 70 miles of remaining range, where possible, to reduce the risk of a fire.

GM said it was still recommending customers park vehicles outside immediately after charging and not leave their vehicles charging overnight – and to get the software update as part of the initial recall.

GM said earlier the high voltage batteries being recalled were produced at LG Chem Ltd’s Ochang, South Korean facility.

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