Will GM Give 2017-2019 Bolts The 2020 DCFC Updates?

It’s the question on every owner’s mind – the 2020 model has some impressive new charging, including much faster cold weather charging, and a gradual natural taper curve instead of the artificial stair-step design that they had before (Take a detailed look here).

I have long said that GM just doesn’t care enough to offer updates to older models. It’s not in their mindset, it’s not in their mantra. You want the better options? Buy a new car. That’s Big Auto’s MO.

Lucky owner Stephen Connick reported this to me just now. Well, I will be happy to admit in this case, I was wrong. (HA! Take that, Betteridge!)

I have never been happier to be wrong!
This is under bulletin 20-NA-053 – DC Fast Charge Robustness Improvements.

Now, before we bust out the champagne and take to the streets and party, we don’t know exactly what this includes. But we do know that the biggest and most annoying thing for us northern drivers looks like it has been fixed. We do know that the 2020 model charges much faster when cold, instead of severely throttling the charge like the 2017-2019 years do. It will get up to full speed within a few minutes, as opposed to 20-40 minutes as before. This not only saves us time, but also a lot of money because we typically pay by the minute at fast charging stations.

What’s even more surprising is the reason. I have to say that I’m shocked that they did this just because of our feedback. I really do have to think that GM is getting a lot more serious about competing with Tesla, a lot more serious about EVs, and a lot more serious about updates to older models now. Bravo GM, and way to earn back brownie points!

If you have received this update, please comment below or reach out to me directly (best place is the 10k+ member Chevy Bolt EV Owners group on Facebook). I would love to investigate exactly what older models get. I will also head over to my dealership ASAP to get this.

Now I’ve been told by various readers who have contacted their dealerships that the reaction is mixed. Some are finding it and scheduling a service appointment for free no problem, and others seem to not be able to find it at all. This should be applied under the Hybrid/EV Powertrain Warranty (100,000mi / 160,000km / 8yr) for free, and the dealer only gets 0.5hr of pay for it, as per the above bulletin.

Furthermore, unfortunately you can’t OTA this. I have been told by an EV tech that the only modules that can update OTA are the OnStar module and the Infotainment module. All other car modules must be updated at the dealership.

I will follow up with GM and my dealership and see what the process is for getting this rolled out to ensure that nobody has a problem. I image that they’re not going to want every driver to update immediately, so let’s see what sort of roll-out schedule they have available.

~~ Drive Safe!

26 thoughts on “Will GM Give 2017-2019 Bolts The 2020 DCFC Updates?

  • March 7, 2020 at 12:28 am
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    Would love to hear more—my ‘19 Bolt is perfect, save for no DCFC. I confess I was not as educated a consumer as I should have been at purchase time and did not know it was an option at purchase time. The dealership where I bought never mentioned and their “on the lot” models (only two) did not have it. I found out about the option only later…..then I was told retrofitting was not possible.

    ——
    That said, in 14500 miles in the Bolt I have never once needed DCFC, and I have a 240AC Level II at my house, still it would be nice for that occasional long trip.

    More! 😉

    Reply
    • March 7, 2020 at 5:37 pm
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      It’s not a hardware add. It’s software. A bolt without DCFC would take a lot of teardown to add it.

      Not impossible but 99.9999999999% never going to happen.

      Reply
      • March 7, 2020 at 7:44 pm
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        It’s absolutely hardware – as I mention in this article, a significant number of components under the hood are physically different if you get the car without DCFC.

        Reply
  • March 7, 2020 at 1:55 am
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    Thanks Sean. With all my winter long distance driving this would be huge for me. I will be contacting my dealership, Dueck in Vancouver right away.

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    • March 7, 2020 at 2:25 pm
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      Would that improvement be available in Québec, where it would be necessary, with our cold weather?

      Reply
      • March 7, 2020 at 7:45 pm
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        Absolutely!

        Reply
  • March 7, 2020 at 2:37 pm
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    Sure would be great to get this update, if it’s free!

    Reply
    • March 7, 2020 at 7:45 pm
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      I have been told that it is free – covered under the hybrid/ev powertrain warranty (160,000km / 100,000mi / 8yr).

      Reply
      • March 8, 2020 at 1:31 pm
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        Thanks! Does anyone know if or how they contact you to get the upgrade/update completed, or do you just contact your dealer?

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        • March 8, 2020 at 1:42 pm
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          Contact your dealer and complain about slow fast charging speeds

          Reply
          • March 9, 2020 at 3:12 am
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            Oh, well. I have never used a fast charger, I don’t travel much. My 2017 has less than 5,000 miles on it.

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  • March 9, 2020 at 2:10 pm
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    Yeah. I called my dealer and they are saying that nothing comes up in their system for any calibration or updates to the fix. Where did you get this bulletin?

    Reply
  • March 9, 2020 at 2:18 pm
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    Trying to get a service scheduled this Wednesday. First dealership I contacted had a wait of “a few weeks”. 2019 Chevy Bolt EV with ~12k miles

    1) Opened the appointment request with complaints of random DCFC failures (true) and slow DCFC speeds (true). Also trying to do “maintenance” (aka the tire rotation)
    2) Mentioned the TSB number
    3) Printed off the TSB here and bringing it into the dealership.

    You would think GM would prioritize being able to push stuff like this via OTA to avoid wasting warranty hours 😐

    I’ll post back with results.

    Reply
  • March 9, 2020 at 2:19 pm
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    Well I just made an appointment to take it in after using the document ID since at first they were denying that my car needed an update. Hopefully it works out

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    • March 10, 2020 at 3:54 pm
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      I had to pay. Can I call GM if it was under warranty

      Reply
  • March 9, 2020 at 5:14 pm
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    Update applied to my 2018 Lt this morning. Ambient is 15c so I cannot test the near 0c rate but: 15c ambient, battery 13c, 45% soc, 200kw station = 30kw. Climbed to 35kw at battery 15c where the battery heater again gave up. Zero difference in these mild temps. Waiting to see how the taper behaves. Should be able to test closer to 0c Friday and Sunday.

    Reply
    • March 9, 2020 at 5:24 pm
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      Stepped down to 23kw at 65%. No gradual taper like the 2020 as some were speculating.

      Reply
  • March 9, 2020 at 10:24 pm
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    I have an appointment tomorrow. They say they need to see if my car needs updating then send the info to GM who will instruct them what to do. They will then proceed or not. Looks like I’m leaving my car all day. Wish me luck. If this cuts my charging speed than its worth the hassle. I just wish I didnt have to call the dealer 3x and educate them on this process. I wish it was OTA when I pulled my car into the garage over WIFI. This is a big all day hassle to maybe have them shut me down. I’m rolling the dice anyway.

    Reply
    • March 10, 2020 at 3:56 pm
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      Why? It only takes an hour. It’s on a computer

      Reply
  • March 10, 2020 at 3:32 am
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    I travel a lot. CCS fast charge at -15C cause my wife to remark that it takes too long to feed my horse his oats. Hence my motivation to call my dealership in Quebec City when I saw this news. They had nothing in their system regarding 20-NA-053. Is this a US thing (doubtful), just too new (maybe) or I should have mentioned 5529071(paperwork SNAFU)? So, I’m very interested in how things work out for Alexander and Randy.

    Reply
  • March 10, 2020 at 7:49 pm
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    Update done. Now I need to test it.
    45,000 on my car. No charge. Had to have them say DCFC not working properly. I walked in with this bulletin. Otherwise they would have never found it. 🤷🏻‍♂️

    Reply
  • March 11, 2020 at 2:15 pm
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    Happy to report I’ve had the update done to my car as of 9 AM this morning March 11

    Reply
  • March 12, 2020 at 4:38 pm
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    The technical bulletin for this item 20-NA-053 states ” Using SPS verify if the vehicle has the latest calibration in the K114B Hybrid / EV Powertrain control module 2.” The bulletin continues – (paraphrasing): If not up to date – update module 2. If up to date give the car back to the customer.

    So my interpretation is the charge curve will not change to the 2020 DCFC curve or increased maximum charge rate. This should be an improvement but likely not much of one.

    Reply
  • March 19, 2020 at 10:58 pm
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    My understanding of this upgrade is it will increase the rate of charging ‘end to end’ in time.
    Said differently, more energy goes into the battery in less time, correct ?
    My understanding is that overheating the battery can impact the longevity and delivered performance of the battery.
    So is it possible that doing this upgrade will have an undesirable impact on battery longevity and/or capacity and/or performance, and if so, has anyone quantified the impact ?
    Thanks for considering the question

    Reply
  • April 7, 2020 at 6:32 pm
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    I took my car in to my local dealer today to have this done. I just asked specifically for the TSB reflash to be done, saying that my car charged slowly on DCFC near freezing temps. I referenced the article NAME exactly, not the TSB number because the way that they are reliably searched for is by keyword. Absolutely no problem getting this done. My appointment was at 8:20, it was done by 9am.
    Haven’t had an opportunity to see if there is any difference at this point since it is well above freezing here and the SOC is close to 90% right now (part of the TSB is to have the dealer connect to their fast charger and make sure it works properly (free energy WOO!)), but the process was painless. Wilsonville Chevy in Oregon for any locals.

    Reply

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