GM offers apology and scrambles to find a fix for Bolt fire risk

Table of Contents Lemon lawsLosing ground in the EV race?Seven Bolts burnGM safety recommendations On June 13, a 26-year-old Arizona woman woke up to find her 2017 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle charger’s adaptor smoking and melted in her home garage.  She was alarmed. She said she had not received any notice from her dealer or General Motors of a […]

On June 13, a 26-year-old Arizona woman woke up to find her 2017 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle charger’s adaptor smoking and melted in her home garage. 

She was alarmed. She said she had not received any notice from her dealer or General Motors of a recall on her car. GM had first issued a recall on 68,000 of the 2017 through 2019 model year cars last November.

“You could definitely smell the burning and the wall I plug it into had burn marks up it and all the metal around the adaptor had melted,” the woman said. “We didn’t know if the fire was out or if it was still burning. I Googled it and that’s when I saw all the articles about the Bolt fires.”

From that day forward, she said, she and her mother have called GM customer care, the EV hotline, her Chevrolet dealer and the Chevrolet concierge nearly daily. But they are left frustrated because there has been no resolution.

“It’s the scariness and the fear of, ‘Will I be able to charge my car? Will I make it work?’ ” she said, noting she has a 50-mile roundtrip commute. “Every day is unknown now. Before I could charge my car at home and have it be fully charged. So it’s been stressful. I charge my car at the public library, in case the car sets on fire again.”

The woman, who bought the car new in November 2017, asked to not be named to protect her privacy and personal safety. But she’s a young professional and her family has traditionally bought Chevy vehicles. She wanted the Bolt — and still wants an EV —because she loved the car and she cares about the environment.

This is the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt an Arizona woman owns pictured on August 6, 2021. The adapter on the charger she used melted and she believes it is connected to GM's recent recall on 2017-19 Bolts for fire risk.

The second global recall was two weeks ago after two more Bolts caught fire recently. After that recall, the woman said she received four notices from her dealer.

A class action lawsuit filed earlier this year in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan alleges that Chevrolet Bolt owners are not receiving the range they paid for because GM recommends owners not fully charge the batteries. The lawsuit alleges that GM may have concealed widespread defects in the batteries suspected of causing the Bolts to catch fire. On Friday, a GM spokesman said, “we are not going to comment on ongoing litigation.”

Jacquelin Burkhammer

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