Some Chevrolet Bolt owners have received a full replacement of the battery pack for their electric cars under a program initiated by the car manufacturer. Chevrolet alerted certain owners on April 3 that the battery might fail to provide current resulting in a non-operational vehicle. Chevrolet described the matter as a “customer satisfaction program” rather than a recall as defined under the NHTSA.
Chevrolet’s notice to Bolt owners stated that in a number of early-production cars, there was an issue which prevented the calibration from detecting the difference in the charge level of the battery. The problem occurs when the voltage generated by three cells in a module decreases because of a defect in one cell. As a result, the other cells in the group must create more voltage to compensate for the defective cell. This leads to progressive deterioration of the cells and eventual collapse of the system.
The defect could cause dangerous conditions as the driver may not receive adequate notice of a low battery state and the car could stop running unexpectedly and suddenly. Several owners have reported experiencing this exact scenario and have posted their stories on a forum for Chevrolet Bolt owners. GM has not revealed how many packs required replacement for this defect. The automaker stated only that this issue affected a small percentage of Chevrolet Bolt drivers. Experts believe that the problem is not likely to be present in cars that have over 10,000 or 15,000 miles. Still, the car manufacturer utilized a different approach to fixing the defect: it relied on its OnStar telematics service to identify the problem and alert only the owners of affected vehicles.
The manufacturer also issued a secondary “customer satisfaction campaign” notice to invite all model year 2017 Bolt EV owners to obtain an additional software update. This update is designed to provide the driver with enhanced warnings if the car’s battery range is dropping. The software that alerts drivers to sudden changes in battery life is already incorporated into all 2018 models.
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