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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Chevy’s Not Taking Any Possibilities With Bolt Battery Packs

Some current posts on Reddit give us some information that may look dangerous on the floor however actually present us one thing good. It seems that GM’s battery software program errs far on the aspect of warning for Bolts and Bolt EUVs after the hearth recall.

As you may see within the picture above, there’s a warning on the show of this 2023 Bolt EUV. Worse, the automobile was sitting when the entire thing began. “It was simply parked within the storage, not charging, and abruptly we hear the automobile alarm go off. We are able to’t get the automobile alarm to show off and after I went within the automobile, I noticed this message. GM is sending a tow truck…,” the unique poster stated.

Given the historical past of Bolt and Bolt EUV automobiles, this “battery hazard” message, accompanied by an alarm that may’t be turned off, sounds completely horrifying. In spite of everything, since 2020, GM has been pressured to restore each single copy of the automobile, and with an entire battery pack alternative. There have been only a few precise battery fires, however they finally discovered that defects in LG Chem battery cells GM used had been so widespread that restore and monitoring for defects to point out indicators of bother wasn’t an choice. So, all packs needed to be fully changed with new cells.

Even the perfect manufacturing strains nonetheless spit out a couple of defects, although. The brand new Bolt battery packs haven’t had any widespread issues, however it’s not secure to imagine that the improved cells will all the time be excellent. So, it’s informative to study in regards to the first defective battery we all know of post-recall.

After getting towed to the supplier, service personnel disconnected the 12-volt battery. The native technician appeared on the battery and decided {that a} new pack was possible wanted, however then one thing extra uncommon occurred. A GM engineer got here out to the dealership and gave the pack a re-assessment, recommending a pack alternative.

As for the motive force, GM is taking excellent care of them as properly. Whereas the automobile is unavailable, GM set the motive force up with a rental automobile at some stage in the restore course of whereas additionally providing to pay for any fuel wanted to maintain the rental driving. The fuel must be bought and reimbursed, however that’s greater than many producers have accomplished for folks needing a restore prior to now. So, GM appears to get that EV drivers don’t like paying for fuel!

Some Takeaways

Whereas we’d all like for EVs to be excellent, they’re like all vehicles on the street. Regardless of how a lot thought goes into them, defects that current some severe hazard to their homeowners, their property, and the general public at massive generally get by. Hearth remembers are pretty widespread in ICE automobiles, and EVs are about 20 instances much less prone to catch fireplace.

I don’t learn about you, however I’d actually assume that ICE automobile homeowners (I personal each an EV and an ICE automobile) wish to have a helpful dandy warning alarm come up if there was a hazard of fireplace. However, the truth that burning is a traditional a part of ICE operation and that flammable liquids and gases are regular makes it quite a bit more durable to identify an issue earlier than it’s too late. Certain, regular upkeep can hold a strong ICE design from ever catching fireplace, however defects that pop up don’t announce themselves to the ECU so as to get an opportunity to evacuate.

Like all automobile designs, this message that GM’s EVs may give us when there’s hazard of fireplace got here from expertise. Because the outdated saying goes, “Common sense comes from expertise, which comes from dangerous judgment.” GM’s expertise with an costly and terrible fireplace recall was not solely dangerous press, however price the corporate some severe money. So, you may guess that such an expertise is one thing they’re very dedicated to not repeating sooner or later.

As a part of that previous recall, the corporate first tried to keep away from changing all batteries by growing a battery monitoring program. Without having so as to add any new {hardware}, they discovered a method for the battery administration system and the automobile’s laptop to work collectively to observe for uncommon voltages and maybe different electrical readings (resistance, and so on.). If issues get too far outdoors of regular limits, the automobile units off an alarm and warns folks to avoid it till somebody can test it out and ensure all the things is OK or restore it if it’s not.

So, it’s fairly clear that GM automobiles are going to be quite a bit safer sooner or later, as will different EVs as these design methods get on the market. As a substitute of auto fires being a seemingly random and unavoidable catastrophe, EVs are in a position to be extra resilient, and fail gracefully as an alternative of failing catastrophically. Not all points will be detected on this method, however we’re about to go from a world the place EVs have 20 instances fewer fires to 1 the place they’re much more uncommon.

For GM’s EVs, we’re additionally possible seeing some excellent news in {that a} GM engineer got here to the supplier to test issues out. This isn’t an extraordinary factor to occur, however when it does, it’s virtually by no means for one thing routine or well-known. So, there aren’t a bunch of Bolts on the market tripping off a battery warning within the software program. It’s uncommon sufficient at this level, even after the alternative packs have been out for some time, that it’s price escalating to a better skilled degree.

On the similar time, I might be improper about all this. This alarm might be among the many first of a wider drawback that may once more should be recalled like the primary one. Nonetheless, the rarity of the issue and the early warning system vastly reduces the probabilities that we’d see one thing as newsworthy as the primary recall. So, even when I’m fully improper in my optimism right here, it’s nonetheless prone to be quite a bit much less painful for homeowners.

I’ve reached out to GM to see if they’ve any additional details about this incident, and I’ll you’ll want to share what they inform me in one other article or in an replace right here.

Featured picture: an image of the “battery hazard” warning. Used with permission from the automobile’s proprietor.


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