US urges 50,000 Chevrolet Bolt owners to park EVs outside due to fire risk

About 50,000 owners of General Motors' Chevrolet Bolt EVs have been urged by US auto safety regulators to park their vehicles outside and away from homes or other structures post charging as they face risk of catching fire. These Bolt EVs were recalled last year in November.

File photo of a Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicle seen on the assembly line at General Motors Orion Assembly in Lake Orion, Michigan, US. (REUTERS)
File photo of a Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicle seen on the assembly line at General Motors Orion Assembly in Lake Orion, Michigan, US.

General Motors also recommended the Bolt owners to not leave their vehicles charging overnight as they have a risk of catching fire if charged to 100%. The recommendation was made after the largest US automaker said it was investigating recent reports of Bolt EVs, that were recalled in November, catching fire.

The 50,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles belong to 2017-2019 model years and were recalled last year for a potential fire risk in the high-voltage battery pack placed underneath the backseat’s bottom cushion. The batteries are made by South Korea's LG Chem.

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The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had first opened an investigation into the fire risk of Chevrolet Bolt EVs in October last year and the November recall was conducted after reports of five fires and two minor injuries. The safety agency told Reuters that it "continues to evaluate the information received, and is looking into the latest fires."

In April this year, General Motors had announced a software update for the Bolt EVs under fire risk and informed owners that company dealers would use "diagnostic tools to identify potential battery anomalies and replace battery module assemblies as necessary." The carmaker had also said that it would make the diagnostic software standard in all the 2022 Bolt EVs and other electric utility vehicles as well as in the future GM electric vehicles. It also announced that it would offer the software update for all other Bolt EVs on the road.

However, NHTSA mentioned that Bolt EV owners should park their vehicles outside indefinitely regardless of whether they have had the software update completed.

(With inputs from Reuters)

First Published Date: 15 Jul 2021, 12:03 PM IST
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