Chevy Bolt EV Recall: What Went Wrong?


The Chevy Bolt recall is one of the biggest and most expensive automotive recalls in history. The recall is an ongoing nightmare for Chevrolet and GM, and the expense of replacing so many EV batteries has seriously impacted the companies’ finances.

The replacement batteries for the recalled Bolts (which is nearly every single Bolt EV ever sold) will begin arriving in October, per GM. The result for customers will be all-upside: not only will they be getting batteries that don’t feature defects that can lead to fires, but they’ll also be getting range increases if they have 2017-2019 models of the Bolt. This is huge news for those who have been holding out to buy a new EV until after the recall was completed.

Which Vehicles Need Recalls

The recalls cover nearly every Bolt that GM has ever sold. The sweeping recall concerns issues with faulty battery cells. GM fears that the faulty cells can lead to fires in some vehicles, a major concern for any manufacturer of electric vehicles. This incident has shown just how costly a mistake like this can be in the burgeoning field of electric cars.

GM has stated that it will prioritize vehicles from the 2017 through 2019 lines, as these Bolts are apparently at the highest risk of battery fires. GM has confirmed that its battery supplier, LG, has been producing the new replacement batteries using brand-new EV technology and that these have been designed to eliminate the defects that initially led to the fire risk.

The recall has been a recurring nightmare for GM, as it started all the way back in November of 2020 and has only grown in the intervening ten months.

Historic Recall

The recall kept expanding as Chevrolet found more and more evidence that the defects that could lead to fires were present in essentially every Bolt model that had been sold. In total, the entirety of the line, all 141,000 EVs, has now been covered under the sweeping recall notice.

This episode has shown that automakers need to be careful when trying to break into the competitive and cutting-edge space of electric vehicles. It’s a brand-new field for most automakers, as the powertrains of EVs share little in common with those of traditional combustion engine-powered vehicles.

Chevrolet’s harsh lesson with the Bolt is one the automotive industry won’t be forgetting soon. Other automakers aren’t eager to repeat this mistake, especially after seeing the multi-million dollar price-tag Chevrolet has been saddled with.