Category: GM

GM – S.Korea's LG Chem shares fall more than 6% on GM's Bolt EV recall

The logo of LG Chem is seen at its office building in Seoul, South Korea, October 16, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo//File Photo

SEOUL, Aug 23 (Reuters) – LG Chem Ltd (051910.KS) shares slid nearly 10% after General Motors Co (GM.N) said it would recall about 73,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric cars that use the South Korean firm’s batteries, months after a similar recall by Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS).

The Detroit carmaker said on Friday its expanded recall of Bolt electric vehicles (EVs) – to address fire risks brought about by what it called battery manufacturing defects – would cost $1 billion and it would seek reimbursement from LG. read more

GM also said it would indefinitely halt sales of the EVs. The latest recall covers vehicles beginning model year 2019.

Shares of LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS), which assembles cells manufactured by LG Chem battery unit LG Energy Solution (LGES) into battery modules, dropped as much as 5.8% in morning trade. The broader market KOSPI (.KS11) was trading up 1% as of 0121 GMT.

LG Chem said on Saturday it was working to ensure that the recall measures were carried out smoothly.

“The reserves and ratio of cost to the recall will be decided depending on the result of the joint investigation looking into the root cause, currently being held by GM, LG Electronics and LG Energy Solution,” LG Chem said in a statement.

The company, which is preparing an initial public offering (IPO) for LGES, saw some $5 billion shaved off its market value. The stock was set for its biggest intraday percentage loss since March 2020.

“Market expected that LGES would launch its IPO in September, but with GM’s expanded recall, LGES IPO is likely to be delayed for a month or two, because the company needs to reflect the recall cost before finalising the IPO paperwork,” said analyst Cho Hyun-ryul at Samsung Securities.

“If LG does not manage to solve its battery defect issues, it will eventually hit its future orders from carmakers. If more fire risks/accidents arise, LG’s position in the global EV market would be weakened,” Cho said.

LG Chem, which also counts Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) as customers, got 815 billion won ($695 million)or 40% of its operating profit from the battery business – including EV batteries – in the April-June quarter. Last year, LGES reported an operating loss.

GM’s expanded Bolt recall comes six months after Hyundai said it would recall some 82,000 EVs globally over fire risks, including the Kona EV, with an estimated cost of about 1 trillion won ($851.90 million). read more

Neither Hyundai nor LG have disclosed how the two companies will split the recall cost but analysts estimate that LG will assume about 60% of expenses to replace battery systems.

Earlier this month, LG Electronics cut its second-quarter operating profit by more than a fifth to reflect costs for the GM recalls. read more

($1 = 1,172.5900 won)

Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Jihoon Lee; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Christopher Cushing

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

GM – GM's $1.8 Billion Chevy Bolt Recall Shows Why Automakers' EV Rollouts Could Be “On Fire”

The puns about the recall of the Chevrolet Bolt EV almost write themselves. Last week’s announcement by General Motors

GM
that it was recalling some 73,000 Bolts at a cost of some $1 billion due to the possibility that the vehicles could catch on fire, is both embarrassing for the iconic automaker, and a warning that its plans to electrify all of the cars it sells by 2035 could, ahem, be going up in flames. 

The recall announced last Friday, comes about a month after an earlier recall of some 70,000 Bolts that were made between 2017 and 2019. GM put the cost of that recall at about $800 million. Thus, fixing all of the Bolts being recalled could, as Morningstar analyst David Whiston told the Detroit Free Press, cost GM some $1.8 billion. That’s a staggering amount for any company, but particularly for one that went bankrupt in 2009, and has said it will be spending $27 billion on EVs and autonomous vehicles over the next few years.

But the significance of the recall by GM, the biggest U.S. automaker, goes far beyond Detroit. The costs of the EV push now underway are likely to be borne by all American taxpayers and ratepayers, not just EV buyers. Three weeks ago, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that aims to make half of all new cars sold in the U.S. in 2030 be electric. Making that happen, according to the automakers, will require huge amounts of taxpayer money in the form of subsidies. It will also require about $50 billion to be spent on EV charging stations, according to a recent estimate by AlixPartners. The cost of all those charging stations will likely be passed on to ratepayers in form of higher electric bills. Those higher rates will impose a regressive tax on low- and middle-income Americans, who are unlikely to be able to afford an EV of their own. 

As Reuters reported on August 5, the day Biden signed the executive order, “The Detroit 3 automakers said the aggressive EV sales goals “can only be met with billions of dollars in government incentives including consumer subsidies, EV charging networks as well as ‘investments in R&D, and incentives to expand the electric vehicle manufacturing and supply chains in the United States.’” 

Before going further, I will put my cards on the hood: I’m a longtime skeptic about EVs and their potential to take over the automobile market. Yes, I know  EVs sales are growing. And yes, I know that nearly all of the world’s big automakers have announced aggressive plans to electrify their fleets. But my skepticism is due to the century-long failure of EVs to gain significant market share among consumers. As Pew Research reported in June, “In each of the past three years, EVs accounted for about 2% of the U.S. new-car market.” The reasons why EVs aren’t grabbing consumers by the tailpipe are many, but the main ones are affordability and functionality. 

Whatever their benefits, EVs are still a luxury product that attract the Benz and Beemer crowd, not low- and middle-income consumers. The average household income for EV buyers is about $140,000. That’s roughly nearly twice the US median, which is about $63,000

I saw that myself last month during a visit to Costco. Out front was a light-blue 2021 Chevy Bolt EV Premier that was roughly the size of a Toyota Corolla. The price tag: $46,280. For that much money, a discerning consumer could buy two – yes, two! – brand-new Corollas at Toyota of Cedar Park, a dealership located about 20 miles north of downtown Austin

For decades, automakers have been claiming that an all-electric car was just around the corner. Some of that hype came from GM. As I pointed out in my fourth book, Power Hungry, (published in 2010) GM was claiming back in 1979 that it had found “a breakthrough in batteries” that “now makes electric cars commercially practical.” That boast was included in a September 26, 1979 article in the Washington Post, headlined “GM Unveils Electric Car, New Battery.” The article explained that the new zinc-nickel oxide batteries will provide the “100-mile range that General Motors executives believe is necessary to successfully sell electric vehicles to the public.”

And yet here we are, 42 years later, and GM is announcing it will “replace defective battery modules in Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs with new modules.” In that same press release, the company said the replacement process for the 73,000 cars being recalled will result in an “additional cost of approximately $1 billion.” Thus, some elementary division shows that GM’s cost to fix each Bolt will be about $13,700. 

To be fair, that figure may be too high. Further, the company has said it will try to recoup some of the cost of the recalls from its battery supplier, LG Chem. But as Chris Isidore of CNN Business reported on August 5, replacing the batteries in the Bolt will be an insanely expensive fix for a car that was too expensive to begin with. Isidore wrote about the earlier $800 million recall, saying it “comes out to about $11,650 per vehicle, making it one of the most expensive recalls ever on a per-car basis.” Isidore pointed out that Hyundai was spending some $874 million to replace batteries in “its own EVs (also for fire risk, though these are different battery modules. That comes to just under $11,000 per vehicle.)” Isidore went on, saying that for GM and Hyundai, the costs of the recalls “are staggering – and exponentially higher than the average price tag of an auto recall over the last 10 years, which was only about $500 per vehicle.” 

The per-vehicle cost of the recall goes to the heart of the bet now being made on EVs, which have an unfortunate habit of catching on fire. As Isidore noted, the Bolt, the only EV that GM is selling in North America, has been “tied to at least nine fires” since early 2020, and Hyundai’s vehicles were involved in about 15 fires. Meanwhile, three Teslas have burst into flames over the past four months.

In April, in the Houston area, two people died after their Tesla Model S crashed into a tree and caught fire. According to one news report, the batteries on the Tesla “continued to ignite despite efforts to douse the flames.” Firefighters used some 23,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire. 

In June, in the Philadelphia area, a new Tesla S Plaid caught fire while the owner was driving it. Here in Austin, earlier this month, a Tesla Model X crashed into a service station and caught fire. As reported by local news outlet Austonia, the driver, a teenage male, “was able to escape the car before it erupted in flames.” The article quoted Austin Fire Department Chief Thaier Smith, who said, “Normally you can put out a car fire with 500 to 1,000 gallons of water, but Teslas may take up to 30,000-40,000 gallons of water, maybe even more, to extinguish the battery pack once it starts burning.”

This spate of recent EV fires, along with the high cost of buying an EV, and the enormous cost of attempting to upgrade our electric grid to accommodate them, are prime examples of why attempting to “electrify everything,” and in particular, our transportation sector, is fraught with risk. The Bolt recall shows why policymakers should slow down the headlong rush toward EVs lest we burn tens of billions of dollars on a technology that could simply go up in smoke.

GM – General Motors Recalls All Chevrolet Bolt EVs To Address Battery-Fire Risks, To Cost $1B

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) has said it is recalling more than 73,000 of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles due to the risk of their batteries catching fire. 

  • The present recall includes 9,335 Bolt EVs from the model year 2019 that were not included in the previous recall and 63,683 2020–2022 model year Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs.
  • GM will replace defective battery modules in Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs with new modules, with an expected additional cost of approximately $1 billion for the automaker.
  • In July, the company recalled nearly 69,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs when it discovered a defect in the battery that powers the EV. 
  • Some Bolt EVs recalled in July were previously recalled last November to update software to address fire risks, but at least one fire occurred after the software update.
  • In the same month, GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urged Bolt owners to park their vehicles outside and away from homes after charging.
  • According to GM’s statement, the batteries supplied to GM for these vehicles may have two manufacturing defects – a torn anode tab and folded separator – present in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire. 
  • GM has discovered manufacturing defects in certain battery cells produced at LG Corp (KRX: 003550) manufacturing facilities. 
  • Earlier in August, LG Electronics Inc cut its second-quarter operating profit by more than a fifth to reflect costs for the GM recalls.
  • Earlier this year, Hyundai Motor Co (KRX: 005380) said it would spend $900 million to replace LG batteries in some 82,000 EVs due to fire risks.
  • GM fell 2.1% to $47.77 after Friday’s close. The shares have climbed 17% so far this year, trailing Ford Motor Company’s (NYSE: F) 43% advance.

Photo: GM Official Website

© 2021 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

GM – GM recalling another 70,000 Bolt electric cars

GM had earlier announced that the recall would cost $800 million, but that was before the recall was expanded to cover all remaining Bolt vehicles. The recall is now expected to cost an additional $1 billion.
The recall comes after GM had previously recalled about 70,000 Bolt vehicles for the same potential problem. The recall now covers Bolt EV and EUVs from 2017 to 2022.
The recalled Bolt vehicles can catch fire after being charged due to a manufacturing defect, the company said. Until the batteries in the recalled vehicles can be checked and replaced, if necessary, GM recommends the vehicles be set to charge to only 90%. Owners should also charge their vehicles more frequently and avoid allowing the battery to be depleted to less than about 70 miles of driving range. The vehicles should also be parked outdoors right after charging and should not be charged indoors.
GM now says it is pursuing reimbursements from Korean battery manufacturer LG, the company that made the batteries that, GM said, are the cause of the problem.
LG did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
GM had previously said that the problem with the Bolt batteries was caused by two rare battery manufacturing errors in model years 2017 to 2019 vehicles, and that more recent models did not undergo the same battery manufacturing process and so were not included in the recall. Now, though, GM is recalling 9,335 more model year 2019 Bolt EVs and another 63,683 model year 2020 through 2022 Bolt EV and Bolt EUV models. The Bolt EUV is a taller crossover SUV version of the Bolt EV.
Concerned customers can visit www.chevy.com/boltevrecall or contact the Chevrolet EV Concierge 1-833-EVCHEV, GM said in its announcement.

GM – GM Expands Chevy Bolt Recall To All Vehicles Due To Fire Risk

Topline

General Motors said Friday it is expanding its recall of Chevy Bolt electric vehicles to newer models due to manufacturing defects in their batteries that could cause fires, with the wider recall—which now includes all model years—expected to cost the company $1 billion.

Key Facts

The company said a small number of batteries, which are made by South Korea’s LG, contain cells with a torn anode tab and a folded separator, which could cause a short and lead to a fire.

The expanded recall covers about 64,000 Chevy Bolt EVs and EUVs from the 2020-22 model years and the 9,335 vehicles from the 2019 model year that were not included in the original recall, which covered about 69,000 EVs from the 2017-19 model years.

GM said it would seek reimbursement from LG.

Crucial Quote

“G.M. customers can be confident in our commitment to taking the steps to ensure the safety of these vehicles,” said G.M. Executive Vice President Doug Parks.

Key Background

General Motors first issued a Bolt recall in November after five vehicles caught fire. In July, the company recalled more cars after two more vehicles caught fire and warned owners not to park them outside or charge them overnight due to the fire risk. Both these recalls were estimated to cost $1.8 million. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued its own warning for car owners to park their Chevy Bolts outside, and said it is looking into the latest fires tied to the vehicle. The NHTSA also issued a similar warning for owners of the Hyundai and Genesis vehicles in March due to risk of fire recalls. NHSTA has also previously investigated the cause of multiple different fires from Tesla vehicles.

Further Reading

Still no fix as GM scrambles ‘around the clock’ to end Chevy Bolt battery fires (Detroit Free Press)

GM’s Chevy Bolt recall comes with a huge price tag (CNN)

GM – General Motors to replace battery modules for some Bolt electric vehicles after fire risks

FILE PHOTO: General Motors Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra announces a major investment focused on the development of GM future technologies at the GM Orion Assembly Plant in Lake Orion, Michigan, U.S. March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo

(Reuters) – Automaker General Motors Co said it will replace all battery modules in some Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles (EVs) under a recall announced last month.

The module replacements, which could start as early as later this month, come after GM recalled its 2017-2019 model year Bolt battery-powered cars for the second time in less than a year. Two fire incidents were reported after the initial recall, including one in a Bolt that had updated software.

GM, the largest U.S. automaker, said in a statement issued on Monday it would replace recalled vehicles’ lithium ion battery modules with new modules, rather than replacing entire battery packs. “The battery pack case, wiring and the other pack components are not defective and do not need replacing,” it said.

GM said earlier the high-voltage batteries being recalled were produced at South Korean manufacturer LG Chem Ltd’s Ochang facility in Korea. The automaker said on July 23 it and LG had identified the presence of two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell as the root cause of battery fires in certain Bolt EVs.

A spokesperson for LG Energy Solutions (LGES), a wholly owned LG Chem battery subsidiary, said LGES “will actively cooperate to ensure that the recall measures are carried out smoothly.”

In late July, GM said its second-quarter results included $800 million in costs associated with the recall of Bolt EVs.

The automaker also asked owners to charge their vehicle after each use and avoid depleting the battery below approximately 70 miles of remaining range, where possible, to reduce the risk of a fire.

GM said it was still recommending customers park vehicles outside immediately after charging and not leave them charging overnight. It said customers should also seek out the software update issued as part of the initial recall.

The automaker plans to use a different-generation battery when it launches electric Hummer and Cadillac vehicles over the next year.

Reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

GM – What Does GM's $800 Million Chevy Bolt Recall Mean For Its Big EV Plan?

General Motors (NYSE:GM) has recalled almost 51,000 of its electric Chevrolet Bolts made between 2017 and 2019 because of concerns about the cars’ battery packs, namely that they could spontaneously combust. While electric vehicle (EV) fires are rare, they tend to be serious when they happen — and they can be a challenge for firefighters to extinguish.

Fire risks have been an ongoing concern with EVs as automakers from Tesla to Volkswagen have worked to understand and perfect the technology. In this Motley Fool Live video, recorded on August 5, Industry Focus host Nick Sciple and Motley Fool senior auto specialist John Rosevear take a closer look at GM’s Bolt recall, which is going to cost the company a whopping $800 million — and discuss whether it raises concerns for the slew of upcoming EVs GM plans to launch over the next few years. 

Nick Sciple: One other line item in the GM earnings, you’ve seen lots of folks talking about this $1.3 billion in warranty recall costs, $800 million of which are attributed to the Bolt EVs or something very much at the top of discussion, and GM was relatively early among the big automakers to move into electric vehicles with the Bolt. The GM’s actually sold enough of the Bolts to where they’re no longer receive the federal incentive whenever you sell a GM electric vehicle. But what’s behind this large warranty charge we’re seeing related to the Bolt?

John Rosevear: They discovered after investigating some fires and other issues, that there were some relatively small number, as I understand it, battery cells made by their supplier, LG Chem, that may have had a flaw that may be causing some of these problems. What they did was, they recalled every Bolt that might have some of those cells in it, which was 2017-2019, I think. Don’t quote me. If you have a Bolt, check with your dealer to be sure.  I don’t want somebody thinking they’re off the hook or they’re under a recall if they’re not. They’re going to replace battery packs and that’s expensive. Of course, it’s expensive. GM emphasizes that this is not the latest battery technology that’s in the new Bolt, this is an earlier battery cell technology. It’s also not their new Ultium cells, which will come online when the electric Hummer SUV starts shipping later in the year. But this is where they’ve seen a problem and GM has certainly learned its lessen over the last decade that if you’ve maybe got a problem, you jump on it right away even if it’s expensive. Because if you don’t, as we found with their ignition switch recalls several years ago, it will get a lot more expensive if you don’t. It’s them trying to get out in front of a little problem before it becomes a huge problem. It’s expensive. It’s also the right thing to do. Ultimate cost of the recall may not be nearly as high if they find that, in fact, it was only a relatively small number of cars. They may be able to hone down their understanding of which cars are likely to be affected. We’ll see.

Nick Sciple: This goes into that thing we talked about earlier of like, if there’s not some backlash against EVs, I don’t think this is something that would make me concerned. There’s a fire risk with EVs. Very concerned about owning one, but this is the type of thing that goes into this PR tapestry. It’s one of those things you’ll hear folks talking about. GM has released some more details around their EV plans outside of the boat, what we could expect from the company moving into the future. What’s your view watching there as far as GM’s EV future?

John Rosevear: We should be watching how the next few launches go. The Hummer EV is coming, GMC Hummer, they’re calling it. Then in the first part of next year, I think it’s first quarter, a Cadillac electric SUV called the Lyriq, and this is a direct Tesla competitor. Will have the Cadillac plush interior. Word is, it’s very quick, it’s quite stylish looking. What I want to see is that those two launches go off very smoothly because this is their new battery technology now, the Ultium battery technology coming out that we’ve been talking about for a year and a half, two years now. This is production. If these vehicles launch on time, if the production ramps, as our friend Mr. Musk likes to say, go as expected, if early reviews are good, if there are no big recalls or problems right away, that is bullish for GM’s overall EV effort. We’ll be watching that over the next nine months or so. If there are snags, well, I’m not sure it’s dire, but certainly it means that this is not going to go as smoothly as it should and we will have to adjust our roadmaps accordingly. But that’s the big thing to watch, as they roll into their proprietary batteries, their proprietary battery packs, these much-hyped new vehicles, does everything goes as planned. Same is true with Ford really. The Mach-E launched pretty much as planned. There were some early snags in production, but for the most part, it came out pretty much as planned. The F-150 [Lightning] has to come out as planned.

Nick Sciple: It’s another thing you hear Musk talk about, is getting from prototype to scale is one of the most difficult things. Auto industry is among the most difficult manufacturing businesses that are out there. We’ll have to see how those things develop. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

GM – Why General Motors Stock Crashed Today

What happened

General Motors (NYSE:GM) reported its second-quarter 2021 earnings today, and the stock is reacting strongly. Revenue of $34.2 billion handily beat expectations of about $31 billion, but earnings per share came in short of estimates, which is what investors appear to be focusing on today. As of 12:50 p.m. EDT, GM shares were down 8.4% following the report.

So what

Strong vehicle sales in the U.S. were led by Chevrolet trucks and crossovers. GM said in a statement it “gained significant retail market share in the full-size pickup segment in the United States.” But bottom-line earnings were impacted by $1.3 billion in warranty costs due to vehicle recalls, most of which was for battery issues with the company’s electric Chevrolet Bolt. 

red stock arrow crashing down after having previously gone up.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

GM did give investors some items of good news looking ahead. In a letter to shareholders, GM CEO Mary Barra said the company now expects full-year adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) to be $12.5 billion at the midpoint of its range, compared to a previous midpoint estimate of $10.5 billion. 

But that wasn’t good enough for investors after the stock had soared 39% year-to-date prior to this morning’s report. The second-quarter results were at the low end of the company’s prior guidance. GM CFO Paul Jacobson said the company’s forward outlook is “cautious,” but it was below what some analysts hoped for, according to reporting by CNBC. 

The company’s long-term future depends mostly on how its new offerings of electric vehicles will perform. The first group powered by GM’s Ultium battery technology will be launched this fall. And GM plans to have 30 EV models in North America and China by 2025. For investors who believe it can become an EV leader, today’s stock drop could be an opportunity.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

GM – Is General Motors Company (GM) a Great Value Stock Right Now?

Here at Zacks, we focus on our proven ranking system, which places an emphasis on earnings estimates and estimate revisions, to find winning stocks. But we also understand that investors develop their own strategies, so we are constantly looking at the latest trends in value, growth, and momentum to find strong companies for our readers.

Of these, perhaps no stock market trend is more popular than value investing, which is a strategy that has proven to be successful in all sorts of market environments. Value investors use a variety of methods, including tried-and-true valuation metrics, to find these stocks.

Luckily, Zacks has developed its own Style Scores system in an effort to find stocks with specific traits. Value investors will be interested in the system’s “Value” category. Stocks with both “A” grades in the Value category and high Zacks Ranks are among the strongest value stocks on the market right now.

One company value investors might notice is General Motors Company (GM Free Report) . GM is currently sporting a Zacks Rank of #1 (Strong Buy), as well as an A grade for Value.

Investors will also notice that GM has a PEG ratio of 0.82. This popular figure is similar to the widely-used P/E ratio, but the PEG ratio also considers a company’s expected EPS growth rate. GM’s PEG compares to its industry’s average PEG of 1.58. Within the past year, GM’s PEG has been as high as 1.17 and as low as 0.71, with a median of 0.88.

Value investors also use the P/S ratio. The P/S ratio is is calculated as price divided by sales. This is a prefered metric because revenue can’t really be manipulated, so sales are often a truer performance indicator. GM has a P/S ratio of 0.69. This compares to its industry’s average P/S of 1.32.

These are only a few of the key metrics included in General Motors Company’s strong Value grade, but they help show that the stock is likely undervalued right now. When factoring in the strength of its earnings outlook, GM looks like an impressive value stock at the moment.

GM – GM again recalls its US electric vehicles over fire threat

The company does not have a fix for the problem that has been tied to at least nine fires nationwide since early 2020. The new fix will likely involve replacing battery modules or perhaps the entire battery pack, said GM spokesperson Dan Flores.
GM and federal safety regulators are providing steps that Bolt owners should take before their cars can be repaired. These include not parking it in a garage or next to another structure such as a home or other building due to the risk of a fire spreading. All the fires occurred when the cars were parked, and there were two reports of injuries.
While the number of cars is relatively small for a recall, GM’s action is significant given how pivotal the Bolt is to its efforts to shift from gasoline-powered cars and trucks to an all-electric future.
The Bolt is the only EV that GM currently sells in North America, though it has other EVs it sells elsewhere, including China. US sales of the Bolt have been climbing rapidly, rising 142% to 20,000 in the first six months of this year compared with the first half of 2020. The model year 2020 and 2021 Bolts have a newer type of battery than the ones that caught fire.
This latest fire risk is comes just as GM is trying to expand its EV business.
Over the next four years, GM plans to invest $35 billion to unveil 30 different electric vehicles, 20 of them slated for the US market alone. The company has said it expects to be selling 1 million EVs annually by 2025 and has set a goal of selling only emission-free vehicles by 2035.
The new versions of the Bolt, the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV debuted earlier this year. The GMC Hummer EV pickup is due to go on sale later this year, and the Cadillac Lyriq, the luxury brand’s first EV, is scheduled to hit dealerships late next year.
GM first announced a recall of the affected Bolts in November 2020 but, then as now, it said it did not know how to fix the problem. In May it announced a software repair but then there were two fires involving vehicles that got that software fix, prompting the latest recall.
Battery packs are the most expensive component of an electric vehicle, and replacing them could prove very costly. Hyundai recalled 82,000 electric cars globally earlier this year to replace their batteries after 15 reports of fires involving the vehicles, at a cost of about $11,000 per vehicle.
Electric car batteries are catching fire and that could be a big turnoff to buyers
Other steps that Chevy Bolt owners can take to reduce the risk of fire until a new fix is decided include keeping it below an estimated remaining 70-mile range where possible. Owners also should also set their vehicle to the 90% state-of-charge limitation either using Hilltop Reserve mode in the 2017 and 2018 model years or the Target Charge Level mode in the 2019 model year.
Or they can bring their vehicle to a dealership to make that change ahead of the replacement work.
All nine fires occurred in the United States, where nearly 51,000 of the recalled Bolts are located. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said there were two fires in vehicles that had the software fix, Flores said the automaker could not confirm the second of those two fires was due to the same battery problem. (The flatbed truck holding the burned out car was stolen from a lot in New Jersey before it could be inspected.)
Some electric vehicles other than the Bolt and the Hyundai EVs have had high profile problems with fires, including earlier models of Tesla. Gasoline-powered cars are at risk of fires as well, though typically that occurs in the course of an accident when the fuel catches fire, and not when the car is parked and out of the sight of the owners.