GM: LG Resumes Chevrolet Bolt EV/EUV Battery Production

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General Motors has good news for Chevrolet Bolt EV and Chevrolet Bolt EUV owners affected by the massive battery recall.

LG Energy Solution‘s plants in Holland and Hazel Park, Michigan have resumed production of battery cells and battery modules with updated manufacturing processes.

Moreover,  LG is adding capacity to provide more cells to GM, which now needs up to roughly 9 GWh of batteries just to complete the recall.

With the new, defect-free batteries in the pipeline, the company says that replacement battery modules will begin shipping to dealers as soon as mid-October.

At this point, it’s not yet clear whether the production of new cars at the Orion Assembly plant in Michigan (currently halted) will also resume.

“The root cause of the rare circumstances that could cause a battery fire is two manufacturing defects known as a torn anode and a folded separator, both of which need to be present in the same battery cell.

LG has implemented new manufacturing processes and has worked with GM to review and enhance its quality assurance programs to provide confidence in its batteries moving forward. LG will institute these new processes in other facilities that will provide cells to GM in the future.”

As far as the recall is concerned, the batteries will be prioritized to the car equipped with batteries that have the highest probability of having both manufacturing defects.

“GM will continue to prioritize Chevy Bolt EV and EUV customers whose batteries were manufactured during specific build timeframes where GM believes battery defects appear to be clustered. The company has established a notification process that will inform affected customers when their replacement modules will be available.”

Chevrolet Bolt EV battery cutaway 60 kwh

Within about 60 days, GM intends to launch a new advanced diagnostic software package for the Bolt EV/EUV. Once installed at the dealership, it “will increase the available battery charging parameters over existing guidance.”

Additionally, the software will be able to check whether battery cells in a particular car might be damaged. That will help to prioritize battery replacements.

“The diagnostic software will be designed to detect specific abnormalities that might indicate a damaged battery in Bolt EVs and EUVs by monitoring the battery performance; alerting customers of any anomalies; and prioritizing damaged battery modules for replacement. It is GM’s intent that further diagnostic software will allow customers to return to a 100 percent state of charge once all diagnostic processes are complete.

This new software, which will be provided to all Bolt EV and EUV owners, requires dealer installation. Owners will be able to start to schedule installation at their Chevy EV dealer in approximately 60 days.”

The general instructions remain the same:

  1. Set the vehicle to a 90 percent state of charge limitation using Target Charge Level mode. Instructions on how to do this are available on chevy.com/boltevrecall. If customers are unable to successfully make these changes or do not feel comfortable making these changes, GM is asking them to visit their dealer to have these adjustments completed.
  2. Charge the vehicle more frequently and avoid depleting battery below approximately 70 miles (113 km) of remaining range, where possible.
  3. Continue to park vehicles outside immediately after charging and do not leave vehicles charging indoors overnight.

…but GM has updated the guidance on parking (park 50 feet/15 m away from other cars). According to the company, as long as the above instructions are followed, vehicles can be parked anywhere.

“If customers are following GM’s instructions issued below [above], they can park in a location of their choice. In an abundance of caution, GM recommends customers leave ample space around their vehicle wherever they choose to park. GM is not aware of any fires that have occurred where customers followed this safety guidance, in parking decks or otherwise.”

Doug Parks, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain said:

“We’re grateful for the patience of owners and dealers as we work to advance solutions to this recall. Resuming battery module production is a first step and we’ll continue to work aggressively with LG to obtain additional battery supply. In addition, we’re optimistic a new advanced diagnostic software will provide more convenience for our customers.” 

  • the full battery recall was announced on August 20, 2021
  • cause: manufacturing defects (a torn anode tab and folded separator) in lithium-ion battery cells (pouch type) supplied by LG Chem’s LG Energy Solution may lead to a battery fire “in rare circumstances”
    Cells were produced in plants in South Korea and in Michigan
  • fire reports (as of September 16, 2021 via Reuters): 12 and three injuries
  • cars: about 142,000 cars (including about 100,000 in the U.S.)
    all Chevrolet Bolt EV (2017-2022)
    all Chevrolet Bolt EUV (2022)
  • remedy: replacement of battery modules (newer cars) or entire battery packs (early cars) will start in October 2021
    The new batteries will include an extended battery 8-year/100,000-mile limited warranty (or 8-year/160,000 km limited warranty in Canada), whichever comes first.
    temporarily: don’t charge beyond 90% State of Charge (SOC) or discharge below approximately 70 miles (113 km) of the remaining range (which is close to 30% SOC, assuming roughly 250 miles of EPA range) and keep the vehicles outside.
  • estimated cost: $1.8 billion
    on average it might be about $12,675 per car (or about $190 per kWh)
    GM announced that it will pursue reimbursement from LG Energy Solution
  • estimated battery volume: 9.2-9.4 GWh
  • similar case: Hyundai recall of about 82,000 EVs (including 75,680 Hyundai Kona Electric)
  • production: production of new cars was halted in August 2021 and it’s expected to resume no earlier than in mid-October

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