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GM preparing to replace 2017-2022 Bolt battery packs at a cost of over $1 billion

This is a step up from the two recalls already issued over possible pack fires.

2017-2019 Bolts may be getting ready to have their battery modules replaced over fire risks.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Chevrolet's Bolt EV is great. It's relatively affordable and has a decent range, but some Bolts have had an issue where a defect in their battery modules can cause them to catch fire when charging. That is clearly not an ideal situation, so GM has issued recalls for the problem twice. Now, though, according to an announcement from GM on Friday, the company's going a whole lot bigger to fix this issue and that includes expanding the recall to cover model years up to 2022.

General Motors will be replacing the battery modules of all 68,667 of the 2017-2019 Chevy Bolts that have been affected by this issue. This will almost certainly be handled as another recall, though the filing has yet to be published on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.

Make no mistake; this is going to be a big deal for GM. According to a Southern California Chevrolet dealer, the repair time to replace an entire battery pack is estimated to be around 13 to 14 hours. That works out to over 200 person-years to replace all of the affected Bolts' packs. GM is extending the warranty on these new packs for an additional eight years or 100,000 miles.

If you think your pack is one of those affected, GM has a few suggestions that you should probably take until this new work can be performed. GM says affected customers should:

  1.  Set their vehicle to a 90 percent state of charge limitation using Target Charge Level mode. Instructions on how to do this are available on chevy.com/boltevrecall. If customers are unable to successfully make these changes, or do not feel comfortable making these changes, GM is asking them to visit their dealer to have these adjustments completed.
  2.  Charge their vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting their battery below approximately 70 miles (113 kilometers) of remaining range, where possible.
  3.  Park their vehicles outside immediately after charging and should not leave their vehicles charging indoors overnight.

If you have questions about this recall, you can either visit the website mentioned above or you can contact GM's EV customer service department at 1-833-EVCHEVY.

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First published on Aug. 18. Update, Aug. 20: Adds information about GM's expansion of the recall to include models up to 2022 and its suggestions for owners waiting for recall work.