Chevy Bolt EVs get a software update to prevent battery fires

Shane McGlaun - May 4, 2021, 6:48am CDT
Chevy Bolt EVs get a software update to prevent battery fires

When it comes to electric vehicles involved in severe accidents, one of the biggest concerns is fire-related to punctures in the battery pack. Last year, General Motors faced a recall of the electric Chevy Bolt due to a handful of battery pack fires. It’s taken a long time, but a fix for the battery pack fires has been created and is now available.

Customers with vehicles covered under the recall will bring their Bolt to the dealership so the battery packs can be inspected. GM says that some of the battery cells in the pack may be replaced if any anomalies are discovered. All vehicles brought in will receive new software that GM describes as advanced onboard diagnostic software.

GM says the software will detect potential issues related to changes in battery module performance before any problems can develop. This software is standard on all Bolt cars moving forward. This fix will also eliminate an artificial battery cap placed on Bolt cars as a preventative measure last year. That software limited the battery capacity to 90 percent in an effort to prevent fires.

GM says that when dealerships upgrade the software on the electric vehicles, that artificial limit will be removed. Only five Bolt battery packs caught fire out of all the vehicles that the automaker had produced. The biggest concern about the handful of Bolt battery fires was that the vehicles use the same battery cells created by LG Chem, which have also caught fire in the Hyundai Kona EV.

The Kona EV uses the exact same battery pack as the Bolt, and more than a dozen fires resulted in the Kona vehicle around the world. Hyundai was forced to recall its EV and removed the Kona EV from its lineup in Korea. Hyundai cannot fix its vehicles with software alone and is replacing entire battery packs for impacted customers.


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