Sudden Chevy Bolt battery failures and recall

Discussion in 'Bolt EV' started by Domenick, Apr 9, 2018.

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  1. The Chevy Bolt has been thought to have a pretty bulletproof drivetrain. One could say it's the car's greatest strength. Now, though, it's emerged that some owners have experienced sudden power loss, and GM has acknowledged the problem.

    Seems as though it's only happened to some 2017 vehicles, and the solution will involve a software update, so that the cars will offer drivers some amount of warning before the loss.

    I don't think this will be a big deal, really, in the long run, but it could do some short-term damage to sales.

    Would this deter you from buying a Bolt?
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  3. Here's the official GM statement for Bolt owners:

    “GM issued a customer satisfaction bulletin today asking 2017 Bolt EV customers to contact their dealer to schedule service for a software update. This action is not a safety recall. The new calibration software will provide additional warnings if a battery cell low voltage condition occurs, which could cause the vehicle to reduce or lose propulsion. Only some vehicles may experience the battery low voltage cell condition, but we are asking all 2017 vehicles to participate in the program.”
  4. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Active Member

    Good to know, thanks. Do we know the software version number? Can we do this ourselves?
  5. We've heard from GM who says they are monitoring cars via Onstar and are "proactively contacting owners to have their batteries serviced as soon as our diagnostics confirm batteries are suspect. The software calibration is an additional measure for our customers safety."
    NeilBlanchard likes this.
  6. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    It might be reasonable to make sure you're not buying an early production unit, but I wouldn't suggest this should be a barrier to buying a Bolt EV produced later in the year.

    Let us please remember that the entire EV powertrain in the Bolt EV, from battery pack to motor, is made by LG Electronics' new automotive division. It's hardly a surprise that a more-or-less brand new company is having some quality control issues, and in fact I think the overall lack of powertrain problems with the car shows some pretty good quality control oversight on the part of GM.

    In my opinion, EVs are still in the "early adopter" stage of the EV revolution, and this latest problem is just one indication of that. It has been noted that many or most Tesla buyers are willing to put up with a certain amount of imperfection in their cars, since Tesla is still a fairly new auto maker. I hope this same attitude will be shown by EV buyers in general. EV tech is advancing fairly rapidly. That's good in terms of EVs noticeably improving with each new generation, but it's bad in terms of auto makers gaining experience in the best ways to design and build EV powertrains and battery packs.
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  8. Chevy has extended its non-NHTSA recall to include all 2018 Bolts.

    From GM:
    General Motors is looking at the entire Bolt EV fleet to ensure everyone has the most updated software available. Through letters we are asking all Bolt EV customers to schedule a service appointment to receive the latest software, including the 2017 owners who received the previously released software calibration. In the event of a cell low voltage condition, this new software increases the accuracy of the range estimation, in addition to providing more warning at low states of charge. We understand this is an inconvenience for some customers to service their vehicles again so soon. However, we want to give our customers the most updated software as soon as it’s available.

    SWAMPLIFE New Member

    Drove until down to about 20 mi left on charge, stayed close to home, then drove home and charged up. Nothing happened other than usual screen graphics.
    Will not participate in recall.
    2018 Bolt EV Premier
  10. jeff10236

    jeff10236 Member

    I don't think it would stop me if I was in the market for a Bolt. Sounds like it was a limited number of cars, and very importantly, it sounds like GM was on top of it and is standing behind their product and customers.
    SWAMPLIFE and Domenick like this.
  11. SequimEng

    SequimEng New Member

    I think the software update only warns the driver and allows the vehicle enough power to limp to a dealer. I supposedly got the updates, but vehicle status shows incomplete. Last week I pulled out onto a highway among a lot of traffic. I barely rolled into traffic, but had enough power to get out of the way. I got the warning "Warning, Loss of Propulsion, drive carefully" and "Warning, Steering Assist failure, drive carefully". It's been at the dealer for a few days, no news, other than they claimed that all software updates had been previously performed. Status is still showing "Incomplete". They are conferring with GM. I'll report back on the resolution.
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  13. Pushmi-Pullyu

    Pushmi-Pullyu Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the report, SequimEng.

    Still, I suspect this is a rare problem, and I suspect GM will have a real fix before long.


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