Fearing battery fires after recalls, people are selling their Chevy Bolt EVs back to GMSeptember 19, 2021
GM had warned that some of the cars could have a manufacturing defect that might cause them to catch fire. For safety’s sake, the automaker recommended Bolt owners restrict their use of the car to avoid straining the batteries, and park them away from their homes.
So far, Chevrolet Bolts have been blamed for 12 fires, according to GM.
The restrictions turned owning what had been a very practical electric car into a huge inconvenience, Schoenfeld said. GM offered to lend him a different car, but it would have been gasoline-powered, since GM doesn’t currently sell any electric vehicles but the Bolt. GM once sold a plug-in hybrid called the Volt, but that car went out of production in 2019. To Schoenfeld, a different GM car wasn’t a viable alternative. So instead, GM bought his Bolt back from him.
“I’m very eco-conscious,” he said. “I’ve got my solar and my geothermal in my house and I don’t want to burn fossil fuels.”
In a process that took weeks to finally work out, Schoenfeld sold his Chevrolet Bolt EV back to GM for a price that was at about $10,000 more than he would have gotten simply by trading the car in to a dealer, he said, though he declined to provide specific numbers.
It’s a solution that many Bolt owners are resorting to, according to numerous social media reports and CNN Business interviews.
GM would not say how many vehicles it has bought back from customers. The company said it is deciding whether to buy back individual cars or not on a “case-by-case” basis. Alternatively, GM is also offering to exchange the car for another GM vehicle.
Brandon Neider, an information technology manager who also owns an auto detailing company in Yonkers, New York, has also submitted paperwork for a buyback, a process he’s been told could take a few weeks given the number of requests.
“I really am not comfortable having this vehicle at this point,” Neider said. “I’m not done with the brand but you know, these guys don’t even know how long this is going to take to resolve.”
GM spokesman Kevin Kelly said the company will begin replacing battery modules on Bolt EVs, at no charge to the owner, once it has confidence that its battery supplier, LG Energy Solution, is producing defect-free batteries. There is no specific time frame in which that’s expected to happen though, he said. NHTSA is also investigating the cause of the fires.
“We don’t have clear solutions yet as we’re investigating the cause of the fire,” a spokesperson for LG Energy Solution said.
The LG spokesperson also said that, since the issue is still being investigated, the company could not comment on whether the root cause was an…