The problems plaguing the Chevy Bolt EV have been well-publicized. The battery supplier for GM is LG, and the battery manufacturing plant had robots that were causing problems during the construction of the battery packs. The manufacturing defect caused at least a dozen Bolt vehicles to catch fire, destroying the vehicles and damaging property. General Motors reopened the factory producing the Bolt vehicles towards the end of October.
However, GM confirmed this week that production would stop again at the Orion assembly plant in Michigan, where the Bolt is built for an additional three weeks. Production originally stopped at the factory in August during the massive battery recall and will stop again on November 15. GM says the return to production at the factory begins on December 6. GM began limited production for only two weeks at Orion starting on November 1.
During that return to production, GM worked to optimize battery production and logistics for the supply chain. One of the obstacles GM is working to overcome is how to provide vehicles to be used by Bolt owners during the replacement of the batteries in their vehicles. GM still intends to complete the recall of pre-existing vehicles before it starts producing new EVs.
Battery module replacement is the priority for General Motors. The automaker has stated that the production schedule at Orion moving forward would continue to be adjusted to support the recall. There are some unsold Bolt vehicles on car lots around the country, and GM has been clear that it has to certify all of those vehicles before they can be sold. Currently, it’s unclear when existing inventory might be available for purchase again.
LG Electronics manufactures the battery pack for the Bolt and is absorbing most of the cost for the recall. LG will reimburse GM $2 billion for the estimated recall and battery pack replacement expenses. Despite the significant issue with the battery packs, GM and LG are continuing to work together.
The fires and recall for Bolt owners has been a very arduous situation. In September, another Bolt battery fire destroyed the vehicle and caused significant damage to the home where it was charging. After that fire, GM issued a warning to owners telling them to store the vehicle at least 50 feet from other cars and structures to reduce the risk if the vehicle caught fire.
Over time, the recall on the vehicles has grown significantly. Originally only a portion of the vehicles built within certain date ranges were recalled and were expected to get new battery packs. GM also issued a software update that limited the charge a battery pack could take, but that failed to stop fires from happening. Eventually, the recall spread to cover every Bolt that GM had built. As a result, all of the vehicles will get new battery packs, and LG maintains it has solved the production problem that led to the issue to begin with.