Chevy Bolt Battery Recall - Selective Replacements
As you have surely seen in the news lately, GM and LG are doing a recall of all 2017-2019 Chevy Bolt EVs with batteries produced in Korea. This recall temporarily forces a reduction of the usable capacity of the battery by 5%, and is out of an abundance of caution, not because there’s an expectation that more fires can or will occur.
Yes, it is actually a 5% reduction, not a 10% reduction. This is a subject of some debate, but they’re limiting the “raw” charge number to 90% (Which could only go up to about 96% before), which results in a “displayed” charge reduction of only 5%. No, there is no buffer, but let’s leave that for another debate.
As a part of this recall, GM has selected an unknown number of batteries for replacement under what’s called an Engineering Investigation analysis umbrella.
This is decided ahead of time – from data collected remotely via OnStar telematics (as well as other unnamed sources) – and not as a result of doing a scan when you bring your vehicle in. There’s no way to cajole yourself into this category. Those who were selected have already been contacted.
Either way, it’s great to see GM and LG nabbing some batteries for analysis.
I suspect that these batteries are either at the limits of voltage tolerance (0.03V from highest to lowest cell), or require frequent balancing, or simply trip other criteria which has been known to potentially lead to problems.
Also note that these are not new 2020 batteries. They will most likely be 2019 batteries produced in the US, which are not subject to the recall. I am going to assume that they’re not just refurbished, which seems very unlikely given the circumstances. If so, the good news is that these batteries do actually have increased range over the 2017 batteries, by about 5-8%, since the increase was gradual over the years and not a sudden jump only in 2020.
If you are at all concerned, please contact the Chevy EV Concierge line at 1-833-EV-CHEVY and they can help you out.
See below for the full recall and replacement details.