General Motors announced this week that two recent Chevy Bolt EV fires occurred in vehicles that had already received a fix to prevent the battery pack from igniting. The discovery of a battery fire hazard forced the company into a recall last year. But according to a report on The Verge.com, the latest news has raised questions about the recall and sparked fears that the fix was ineffective. In the meantime, the automaker is warning owners of the 2017-2019 model year Bolts not to charge the electric cars overnight and to park them outside in case they catch fire.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also issued the same warning to owners. The safety agency said it is still investigating the problem and looking into the two new fires. GM recalled nearly 69,000 Bolt EVs in November 2020 after a handful of reports of fires which started in the electric vehicles’ battery packs.
Problem with Battery Pack
The company warned owners to park the vehicles outside until they could figure out what was causing the fires and settle on a fix. But the automaker did not mention anything about not charging overnight at that time. GM also issued an interim software update that limited the maximum capacity of the affected Bolts’ battery packs to 90% to reduce the chance of a fire.
It wasn’t until May that GM finally shared its plan to fix the problem causing the fires. However, the problem now is that the fix may not be working. Two recent fires happened in vehicles that got the new software and had been checked by a dealer. GM says it is still investigating the fires and is asking vehicle owners who haven’t gotten the fix to take their Bolts to a dealer regardless.
At least nine fires have been documented, and the company has even started buying back some of these vehicles. The Verge reports that GM has been “tight-lipped” about what is causing the fires throughout this process. But, these earlier-model Bolts use the same cells from LG Chem that power Hyundai’s Kona EV, which has also been recalled after multiple reports of fires and was canceled outright in South Korea.
Auto Product Liability Issues
Vehicle fires could not only result in property damage but also serious burn injuries or even death. If you have been injured as a result of a defective auto, it is important that you contact an experienced auto defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.
Injured victims may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative treatments, permanent injuries, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.