LG Electronics has agreed to reimburse General Motors up to $1.9 billion to fix Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles because of a fire risk caused by defective batteries. According to a CNBC news report, problems with the Chevy Bolt, which is GM’s flagship mainstream electric vehicle, can cause fires in the cars without warning. This issue has led the automaker to recall all of the electric cars made since production began in 2016. The problem is believed to be caused by the vehicle batteries supplied by South Korean supplier LG, and a settlement has now been agreed upon.
Details of the Settlement
Repairing the vehicles, including completely replacing the batteries, is expected to cost $2 billion. The settlement between the two companies is considered a major win for the automaker and is expected to help it recover its losses in the third quarter. The manufacturing issues occurred at LG Battery Solution’s South Korea and Michigan plants.
The manufacturing defects in the Bolt EVs include a torn anode tab and folded separator that increase the risk of fire when present in the same battery cell. GM officials said that both companies’ engineering and manufacturing teams are collaborating to speed up the production of new battery modules and expect to begin repairing customer vehicles as early as this month.
Two Manufacturing Defects
The defective batteries have caused at least 13 vehicles to catch fire. The faulty lithium-ion cells in question had two manufacturing defects. One is a torn anode tab, the piece of the negative electrode that allows the cell to be wired into a group of cells called a module and then into the full battery pack.
The other is a folded separator, the thin sheet of material that separates the anode and cathode. In some cases, when both defects are present in the same cell, the chance of a fire is increased. A fire within even a portion of the battery pack remains a serious event that can cause substantial damage to the vehicle.
Auto Product Liability Issues
In addition to vehicle damage, vehicle fires can potentially cause catastrophic injuries or even fatalities. If an auto defect has injured you or a loved one, you may be able to hold the automaker and other potential parties by filing an auto product liability lawsuit. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to advise you regarding your legal rights and options.