tdjgordon
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News about Bolt Battery Fires

Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:25 pm

Today is Tuesday, October 13, 2020, and I've been reading on-line national news (ABC is one example) about Bolts catching fire while parked or stored. The fires apparently have all occurred in the lithium battery pack below the seats. The articles say GM is investigating the three incidents and will have a report soon. Out of the 87,000 Bolts sold from 2016 through 2020, three fires is pretty low. Battery fires have also occurred in Teslas. To be safe, we installed a new smoke/fire alarm in our garage today.


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ChevyCustomerCare
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Re: News about Bolt Battery Fires

Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:46 pm

Hi everyone,

General Motors has decided to voluntarily recall select 2017-2019 model-year Chevrolet Bolt EVs with high voltage batteries produced at LG Chem’s Ochang, Korea facility that may pose a risk of fire when charged to full, or very close to full, capacity. While our investigation into this condition continues, GM has developed software that will limit vehicle charging to 90% of full capacity to mitigate this risk. Dealerships will update the vehicle’s battery software beginning on November 17 the to limit the maximum state of charge to 90 percent. Our analysis indicates that this action will reduce the risk of a battery fire. We are working around the clock on our continued investigation and intend to deploy a final remedy to remove the 90% limitation as quickly as possible after the first of the year, 2021. Until customers receive the dealer software update, we are asking them to change the charge settings on their vehicle to enable either “Hilltop Reserve” (for 2017-18 model year vehicles) or “Target Charge Level” (for 2019 model year vehicles) using their vehicle’s infotainment center. Changing these settings will temporarily limit the vehicle’s state of charge to 90%. If customers are unable to successfully make these changes, or do not feel comfortable making these changes, we are asking them to not park their car in their garage or carport until after they have visited their dealer. The safety of our products is the highest priority for the entire GM team. Customers are encouraged to make an appointment at their preferred dealer for this software update. For more information, customers can visit www.chevy.com/boltevrecall or contact the Chevrolet EV Concierge 1-833-EVCHEVY or their preferred dealer.

Dani C.
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charge
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Re: News about Bolt Battery Fires

Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:59 pm

GM may need to pay owners Cash$$ if the 90% charge rule sticks around quite a while. It would actually be cheaper than replacing all those tens of thousands of massive batteries! ........ assuming the battery problem can't be solved with a better cell balancing/management software algorithm & requires a new battery.

Precedent, assuming it counts, can be found with the first 2013 model year of the Ford C-Max Hybrid, where the "range" in service was found to be less than the advertised window sticker MPG said.

In that case, Ford was not even technically at fault!! They used aero drag physics from the Ford Fusion Hybrid for the C-Max Hybrid's EPA MPG numbers, which was allowed by EPA rules since both had indentical weight & powertrain systems. Yet, Ford's exploitation of the rules loophole was deceptive, and they knew it, which increased sales of their new C-Max when people saw 47 MPG on the window sticker, when in reality, with CORRECT drag coefficients used, the real EPA MPG was about 43 MPG. (I had a '15 C-max & got 44 mpg average.)

Ford made good and gave about $500 bucks to buyers of the 2013 model as compensation for them getting lied to.

BoltEV
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Re: News about Bolt Battery Fires

Thu Dec 10, 2020 8:06 pm

Not a good analogy: The Korean Bolt EV batteries are a continuing danger. Ford’s was a mileage promise they didn’t keep!

charge
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Re: News about Bolt Battery Fires

Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:41 pm

Both the Bolt's problem and the old C-Max problem was an EPA estimate issue. Both GM & Ford are guilty of not delivering on the EPA estimate, hence the similarity. Remember the consumer sees the Range Estimate for an EV on the Monroney the same as they do MPG on a hybrid.

The Bolt promised 238 miles range (EPA standard test), and now it can actually only get 90% of that (214), less than what the buyer thought. C-max promised 47 MPG (important for a hybrid buyer), but really got 43 MPG when not "borrowing" Fusion drag numbers, less than what the buyer thought.

Only charging to 90% or 95% probably reduces the odds of a fire from 1-in-10,000 down to 1-in-100,000, acceptable risk, meaning it does solve the problem to just cheat the owner out of some range & move on.

Could be this range problem will persist for some time. Battery issues can be hard to resolve, especially since new packs cost $18,000 (part+labor). I could see GM taking the Ford route & just throwing some rebate, maybe $1,000 here, to keep consumers from feeling cheated while their batteries can't be charged up all the way, likely a 10-year problem.

Example: Mustang Mach-E Monroney range part:
Image

BoltEV
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Re: News about Bolt Battery Fires

Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:56 pm

charge wrote:Could be this range problem will persist for some time. Battery issues can be hard to resolve, especially since new packs cost $18,000 (part+labor). I could see GM taking the Ford route & just throwing some rebate, maybe $1,000 here, to keep consumers from feeling cheated while their batteries can't be charged up all the way, likely a 10-year problem.

Which is why you are not a member of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

The next Bolt EV Korean battery fire will prove you wrong!

SparkE
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Re: News about Bolt Battery Fires

Fri Dec 11, 2020 10:01 am

And the lawyers get fat and happy. F'king lawyers.

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Re: News about Bolt Battery Fires

Fri Dec 11, 2020 5:38 pm

Hi all,

While we definitely understand that the interim repair and 90% charge limitation is not ideal, we assure you that our engineers are working around the clock to identify a permanent remedy and we expect to have the permanent remedy available after the first of the year, 2021, as mentioned above. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this recall in the meantime, you are also welcome to reach out to our Customer Care Team by emailing socialmedia@gm.com.

Elizabeth W.
We can also be reached at (800) 222-1020 and socialmedia@gm.com.

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charge
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Re: News about Bolt Battery Fires

Fri Dec 11, 2020 8:43 pm

ChevyCustomerCare wrote:While we definitely understand that the interim repair and 90% charge limitation is not ideal, we assure you that our engineers are working around the clock to identify a permanent remedy and we expect to have the permanent remedy available after the first of the year, 2021, as mentioned above. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this recall in the meantime, you are also welcome to reach out to our Customer Care Team by emailing socialmedia@gm.com.

Elizabeth W.


Thanks for the official Chevy public response. Glad Chevy is at least saying something. Scheduling a breakthrough to solve a mystery makes it very tough on engineers, as I know from experience.

Your response makes it sound like Battery Cell/Bank Management software algorithms can be tweaked to maybe solve this. If it's a software algorithm solution, can it be trusted in the long term to actually solve it? Tapering off the input current flow near full charge "should" help thermal runaway, among many other possible solutions, yet I wouldn't bet on it.

Safer to just keep the 90% solution, reduced range, and cut a check to all the owners with an apology, keeping the fire chance down at 1 in 100,000 instead of the current 1 in 10,000 odds. ......... Interestingly, the odds of a newer IC engined vehicle getting a car fire in 1 year is about 1 in 10,000 from figures I found. (Old cars of course higher!) Par for the course.

I would be surprised if the solution is battery pack replacement with a revised anode/cathode design or electrochemistry changes, in that short amount of time. As I said above, it would be expensive. Assuming GM can replace the batteries at dealerships for the cost of around $10,000 wholesale ($18,000 if retail, for comparison), that would mean $500 million bucks, and that's on a vehicle that never made a profit in the first place.

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