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GM recall of Chevy Bolts will cost $1.8bn

August 21, 2021

By Paul Homewood


h/t Tallbloke


GM recall of Chevy Bolts will cost $1.8bn



The recall and others raise questions about lithium ion batteries, which now are used in nearly all electric vehicles. Ford, BMW and Hyundai all have recalled batteries recently.

President Joe Biden will need electric vehicles to reach a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half 2030 as part of a broader effort to fight climate change.

The GM recall announced Friday adds about 73,000 Bolts from the 2019 through 2022 model years to a previous recall of 69,000 older Bolts.

GM said that in rare cases the batteries have two manufacturing defects that can cause fires.

The Detroit-based automaker said it will replace battery modules in all the vehicles. In older versions, all five modules will be replaced.

The latest recall will cost the company about $1 billion, bringing the total cost of the Bolt battery recalls to $1.8 billion.

  1. GeoffB permalink
    August 21, 2021 9:40 am

    The start of things to come…..While I do not believe that battery vehicles are a viable alternative to petrol/Diesel, the BEV industry has missed a golden opportunity to standardise the battery size across all vehicles. This would keep costs down and create the possibility of battery exchange/leasing. The entry models like the Leaf would use one unit while a Tesla would use 3 or 4.

    • Harry Davidson permalink
      August 21, 2021 9:52 am

      That would be hard to achieve when the batteries are a vital part of the Tesla chassis, which is essentially a framework of batteries, with wheels attached to it.

      • August 21, 2021 10:18 am

        So passengers are in effect sitting on the batteries 😮

      • Joe Public permalink
        August 21, 2021 10:37 am

        OB – Heated seats are an EV’s free feature.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 21, 2021 11:13 am

      But you would still have the annoyance that you had a load of AA batteries and your new car turns out to runs on AAA batteries.

    • Jordan permalink
      August 21, 2021 12:55 pm

      ” golden opportunity to standardise the battery”
      I guess that’s the nature of free competition. Regulation can play a role by imposing standards, making sure customers are not left with the costs of inconsistency. Common standards have been a large part of the development of the EU single market.
      Regarding EV batteries, my friend thinks replaceable battery packs would be the way to go. Discharged batteries would be replaced with re-charged, avoiding the need to wait for re-charging. It’s a decent enough idea, although I have three reservations.
      One is the cost of ownership (or leasing) two complete battery packs. This would need to be compared to the inconvenience of waiting to re-charge. I hear suggestions that battery packs cost around £6k.
      Second is the weight of the replaceable packs. A single battery would be too heavy for most drivers to manhandle. Multiple individual modules would then be needed, which is inconvenient and doesn’t make things any cheaper.
      Third is weight distribution. I’d suggest EV on-road dynamics would not be helped if there is a large mass in (say) the boot/trunk space (which would be where to put it for access and manhandling).

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        August 21, 2021 3:55 pm

        I think there is a degree of standardisation in the underlying cells. However, battery pack design is an art that entails matching them carefully to the particular vehicle and its design performance characteristics. An introduction to the topic here

      • Dave Andrews permalink
        August 21, 2021 5:08 pm

        What do you do if on your first replacement of your brand new battery you are given one which is on its last legs and when you come to replace that the machine refuses to take it?

  2. Andrew Mark Harding permalink
    August 21, 2021 10:22 am

    The result of hysteria over logic!

    Most people think that electric cars are a modern invention, this is not the case. The first electric cars were built in the 1880’s powered by Lead/Acid batteries. Cars at the time were gaining in popularity.

    There were three types; steam powered, internal combustion and electric all had advantages and disadvantages.

    Steam power could use a variety of fuels, if it burned it could heat water and produce steam, the major disadvantage though was that there was no spontaneity. A head of steam had to be available which took between 20 and 30 minutes to attain. The use of steam powered cars rapidly declined for this reason

    Internal combustion cars did not have this problem, however they needed to be started using a starting handle to turn the crankshaft, this required strength and quick reflexes. If the starting handle was not disengaged from the crankshaft quickly enough, it would turn with a force that would break the wrist of the motorist.

    Women in general did not like this type of propulsion. they preferred electric cars. This was despite the disadvantage of the lengthy charging time and ‘re-fuelling’ taking hours as opposed to a few minutes making long journeys difficult, to impossible.

    The invention that changed everything was the electric starter motor with a solenoid that disengaged the pinion from the crankshaft once the engine was firing.

    For obvious reasons this became the preferred method of propulsion and still is for those of us who rightly don’t think that a minute increase of a trace gas is going to decimate the planet and would prefer owning a vehicle which is unlikely spontaneously combust!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 21, 2021 11:18 am

      James ‘Captain Slow’ May pointed out in one of his recent series that the original range of the 1890s battery car of 90 miles was much the same as those of today’s battery cars if you use them like a normal car. Yes, they have more comfort and go much faster but don’t really go much further.

  3. Ian PRSY permalink
    August 21, 2021 11:26 am

    This has knock-ons for local authorities, eg car park and charging space design, electric vehicles for public sector activities and location and safety aspects of grid-scale battery installations. I’ve FOI’d my council on the issue and they weren’t all that bothered. The grid-scale battery installations approved in planning include one surrounded by dense housing and commercial units. The fire service wasn’t consulted. I’ve given them more info and asked them to think again. Response awaited.

    • StephenP permalink
      August 21, 2021 12:03 pm

      I can just see the fun if an electric vehicle goes up in flames in our local hospital multi-story car park. The charging stations are just by the entrance, and there are four floors with about 100 cars per floor.
      Even if most of the cars in the car park could get out, (unlikely as the fire service would no doubt keep people well clear of the fire), new arrivals for hospital appointments have nowhere to park in the locality.
      Mabe each charging point should have its own steel barrier (I.e. a skip) around it in case of fire to allow for easy management of a fire and subsequent removal of the remains.
      Can anyone give an opinion on what the effect on the integrity of the car park would be after an EV fire on the ground floor?

    • MikeHig permalink
      August 21, 2021 12:06 pm

      Did you draw attention to the recent fire at a mega-battery outside Melbourne?
      The plant was in start-up mode, had been operating for 16 hours before a couple of containers caught fire. They burned themselves out after 76 hours….

  4. T Walker permalink
    August 21, 2021 12:01 pm

    We did see Guy Martin testing EV batteries to destruction on his recent programme about his attempt (failed) to take the quarter mile drag record for a production car in EV form.

    He readily got a short circuit to lead to an impressive fire, but they maaged to put it out (temporarily) by excluding oxygen with a sheet of some fireproof material.

    He also showed a new form of battery with electrical wiring to prevent fire taking hold, even when increasing the short circuiting. It did look as though Joe Public’s heated seats would still be available though.

    Apparently TESLA managed to increase the record while Guy was still building, but Martin spent a few bod and TESLA spent a few million.

    Worth a watch on Catch Up IMHO

  5. Jack Broughton permalink
    August 21, 2021 12:39 pm

    Another Inconvenient Truth, no doubt this nuisance will be removed from the records by a suitably deigned AlGoreithm. The car park fire issue is a real concern given the problems of controlling battery fires – they seem to have to burn out and produce a lot of toxic chemicals that an I/C engine fire do not produce. Do batteries become hotter as they get older?

  6. Stonyground permalink
    August 21, 2021 1:18 pm

    “President Joe Biden will need electric vehicles to reach a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half 2030 as part of a broader effort to fight climate change.”

    I keep hearing this assertion that electric cars will cut emissions. It seems to be based on the assumption that the cars will all be charged using wind windpower rather than reality.

    • Graeme No.3 permalink
      August 22, 2021 5:55 am

      No. You can still charge them overnight using windpower. There is a small problem that there may not be enough wind – I understand that the longest “wind drought” for the UK was only 9 days.
      Good excuse though – “I didn’t forget your birthday Dear, but I could go and pick up the present because there wasn’t enough wind”. Or “yes, Boss, I know you wanted this 3 days ago but I couldn’t deliver it because wasn’t enough wind. Was the Board upset?”

      • August 22, 2021 8:12 am

        Graeme, No 3,

        this is not what actually happens.
        Whether at night or day they are charged with gas fuelled (mainly) generation in the U.K.. Gas does most of the demand and supply balancing, without it we would have power cuts. Add demand as is the case with a transition to electric vehicles then CO2 emissions rise.
        A rider to that is that the expansion of non CO2 generation will need to match that of evs and heat pumps, and given that we are losing all our nuclear fleet shortly that seems most unlikely, probably the reverse. (Hinkley may come online by the end of that shutting down of old station, but don’t bet on it)

        I think there is a perception that there is excess power available at night which is incorrect, there is excess capcity which is entirely different.

        We have had about four months of wind drought this Summer, some days were good, it does fluctuate, but in general it has been dismal, such that Orsted are reporting a significant drop in earnings from wind genertaion.

      • August 22, 2021 8:16 am


        sorry, I can see I did not make myself entirely clear.
        If non CO2 generation matches the expansion of demand from evs and heat pumps we will broadly keep emissions at the current level, which is not particularly low.
        In my view this will not happen and CO2 emissions will rise from this policy.

  7. Coeur de Lion permalink
    August 21, 2021 1:33 pm

    Has anyone had a hike ln household insurance because of an EV in an integral garage?

    • John Winward permalink
      August 22, 2021 8:12 am

      As most companies are now thoroughly woke, I imagine any extra risk will be somehow transferred to those insuring IC vehicles.

  8. Gamecock permalink
    August 21, 2021 2:05 pm

    Cars burning, houses blowing up, birds extinct, no meat to eat . . . what an a amazing future our politicians have designed for us.

  9. Ian Bridson permalink
    August 21, 2021 2:21 pm

    Just for the record: the vehicle in question is called the VOLT not the bolt and earlier versions imported by Vauxhall wer named AMPERA.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      August 21, 2021 9:05 pm

      “Just for the record: the vehicle in question is called the VOLT not the bolt and earlier versions imported by Vauxhall wer named AMPERA.”
      Are you sure about that? is a plug in hybrid is an all electric

    • Douglas Dragonfly permalink
      August 21, 2021 9:32 pm

      Volt – are they built in Turkey ?
      Anyway they make electric bikes too.
      The one I saw had a step-through frame. Feet were placed on the board between seat and handlebars. Pedals and chain were just for show in order to get round legislation. Two wheels.

      As for electric cars, maybe they’ll be rented via a car club rather than privately owned due to cost. Then there might even be a reduction in the number of cars on the road ?
      Which, I believe, is what the elite desire.
      The sales patter even wants people to believe they will be recharged solely from renewables.

      • Douglas Dragonfly permalink
        August 24, 2021 12:05 pm

        I omitted it has two
        16inch wheels and the company was infact Volta.
        A VSM.

  10. dearieme permalink
    August 22, 2021 12:02 pm

    “earlier versions imported by Vauxhall were named AMPERA”

    AMPERA boom-dee-ay, AMPERA boom-dee-ay, AMPERA boom-dee-ay …

  11. chriskshaw permalink
    August 22, 2021 3:19 pm

    Enjoying the DDPs lecture series and found this one to have exceptional clarity

  12. Ian Bridson permalink
    August 25, 2021 6:12 pm

    Belated thanks to Ray Sanders for putting me right about my VOLT / AMPERA comment. No excuses for brain fade and being years out of date with my recollection of GM models. Just possibly, I simply could not believe that a vehicle manufacturer would call any model a BOLT!

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