More and more owners of Chevy Bolt electric vehicles are selling them back to manufacturer General Motors fearing vehicle fires after several reports of blaze breakouts.
According to a CNN news report, Chevrolet has recommended that Bolt owners restrict their use of the car to avoid straining the batteries and to park them away from their homes.
There have already been several instances of fires breaking out due to battery issues, sparking a spike in vehicle sales.
In an electric car, if one battery cell is defective, that allows its stored energy to be released in an uncontrolled way causing it to heat up. This heat can in turn damage other cells nearby causing them to release their energy as heat too.
This could set off a chain reaction known as “thermal runaway” leading to a fire. Still, electric car fires are rare compared to fires in gas-powered vehicles. So far, GM has said Chevy Bolt vehicles have been blamed for 12 fires.
A Huge Inconvenience
Bolt owners are now saying that the restrictions such as using the vehicle in a limited manner and parking it outside have become a tremendous inconvenience. One owner said GM offered to lend him a different car, but that one would be gas-powered because GM doesn’t sell any other electric vehicles. That vehicle owner was then able to sell his EV to GM at about $10,000 more than he would’ve gotten simply by trading the car into a dealer. This is a solution many Bolt owners are resorting to, CNN reports, based on social media reports and interviews.
GM has declined to state how many Chevy Bolt vehicles it has bought back from customers. The automaker initially announced a recall of Chevy Bolt electric vehicles back in November 2020 because of a fire risk. At the time, the automaker did not have an immediate fix. In May, it announced a software repair.
But then, there were two fires involving Bolt vehicles that had received that fix, prompting another recall in July of 70,000 vehicles. A month later, GM recalled 70,000 more cars. GM has said it will begin replacing battery modules on Bolt EVs once it has confidence that its battery supplier, LG Energy Solution, is producing batteries that are not defective. NHTSA is also investigating the Bolt fires.
Auto Product Liability Issues
The issue of fires is certainly serious. Vehicle fires can result not just in property damage, but also serious and life-threatening injuries such as burns and smoke inhalation. It is deeply concerning that there is no solution or repair in sight yet for these vehicles other than to have vehicle owners park the car outside or use it in a limited manner. Understandably, several customers have also banded together to file a class-action lawsuit against General Motors.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these vehicle defects or if you are looking into filing a class-action lawsuit, please contact an experienced auto defects lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.