Chevy Bolt EV battery recall: Nearly half of defect-prone 2017-2019 models have been fixed

General Motors has remedied nearly half of the most defect-prone group of vehicles in an expanded, ongoing Chevrolet Bolt EV battery recall, according to a quarterly report on the recall campaign published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Wednesday.

First spotted by Reddit users, the report shows that as of April 22, 26,925 vehicles out of a total 57,414 of the most trouble-prone 2017-2019 models—featuring the original, potentially flawed cells made in South Korea—have had recall work completed. That’s about 45% of the total number of vehicles potentially affected by the recall, which addresses manufacturing defects that could lead to battery fires.

In addition, 210 vehicles are listed as “unreachable,” and a further 345 are listed as “removed.” Owners were notified of the recall between August 13, 2021, and October 12, 2021, according to the report.

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

All Bolt EV models, as well as the Bolt EUV derivative, are affected by the recall, and there are two recall campaigns affecting a total of about 110,000 U.S. vehicles. GM opted to replace battery modules in all 2017-2019 models—a logistical feat for GM as replacement batteries are needed on top of those slated for use in new vehicles.

Among the second, newer group of Bolt EVs (and Bolt EUVs) recalled, including 52,414 Bolt EVs with cells of an updated design originating in Holland, Michigan, just 661 (barely over 1%) have been remedied up until April 22. That’s a clear indication that while the later cars are still recalled, with some of them perhaps getting a pack replacement, the earlier vehicles are the priority.

For the newer group of vehicles, GM flashed a new software update to affected vehicles last fall, initially dropping the maximum state of charge to 80 percent but gradually easing it back to 100% if the battery pack passed diagnostic tests.

GM restarted Bolt EV and Bolt EUV production at its Orion Assembly plant in Michigan April 4 after many months of suspension. Production halted in August 2021, and remained that way until early April aside from a brief restart in November 2021.

Battery supplier LG is paying GM $1.9 billion for the recall, which happened just as GM was readying its new-generation Ultium cells jointly developed with the company. GM and LG also remain partners in Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture with plans for four battery plants supplying cells for GM EV production. So far GM has confirmed locations in Ohio, Tennessee, and Michigan that correspond to assembly plants slated to build future EVs.

UPDATED: The title and statements within the piece have been updated to represent that 45% of the earlier, defect-prone group of Bolt EVs have been remedied, not 45% of all affected/recalled Bolt EVs.

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