Recently, the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration) announced they are conducting an investigation into Chevrolet Bolt batteries, due to a potential fire hazard while charging. The recall according to Chevrolet is primarily for years 2017 through 2018, however, some of the MY2019 Bolt EVs are also included.
The battery packs were produced at the LG Chem factory in South Korea. Currently, Chevrolet is reporting that the battery packs are a fire risk only when the battery packs are charged to full capacity. Chevrolet’s temporary fix is to set the charge to a maximum of 90% of the battery’s capacity. Limiting the battery charge to 90% capacity can be accomplished either by changing the setting of the vehicle or by visiting a dealership to have a software update installed.
Chevrolet is recommending using the Hilltop Reserve mode, to achieve a 90% charge in the 2017 and 2018 models. For the 2019 MY model, they are recommending setting the Target Charge mode to 90%. Unless the software patch is added to a vehicle or the charge setting is set to 90% percent, Chevrolet is recommending people charge their vehicles outside of their garages.
Ultimately, Chevrolet intends to install a permanent fix, however, this will not be available until January 2021. Currently, it is unclear whether anyone has been injured in these battery fires, although it appears clear the potential exists.