Some early Chevy Bolt EVs could have battery issues

It could lead to "unexpected loss of propulsion"

2017 Chevy Bolt
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  • 2017 Chevy Bolt
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt in motion
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt front fascia
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt headlights
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt taillights
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt charging port
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt interior
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt interior center console
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt rear seats
  • 2017 Chevy Bolt, profile in shadow
New models often have teething problems and the Chevrolet Bolt EV is apparently no exception. At issue: an "unexpected loss of propulsion," in the words of Chris Bonelli, GM's global advanced technology communications coordinator. And this isn't just normal battery-capacity loss.

The story was broken by Brad Berman, an editor at PlugInCars, a website covering electric vehicles. He experienced the issue personally, with his Bolt losing power on a short highway trip, despite initially showing approximately 100 miles of range. He was told by Kevin Kelly, senior manager at GM Advanced Technology Communications, that less than a couple hundred cars may be affected. Bonelli told us that less than 1 percent of the approximately 10,000 Bolts on the road have already been affected by the power loss issue, which would be about 100 cars. Bonelli also said that earlier models are more likely to have issues since later models may have updated parts, designs, etc. that are better than the first models.

According to Bonelli, the issue occurs from a "low-voltage condition" that could cause the car to report more range than it has, which can lead to the driver being stranded by a powerless car. Kelly told PlugInCars that a bad battery cell can cause this and that replacing the whole pack is the solution.

Bonelli told us that affected battery packs will be inspected and either repaired or replaced. So there may be a way to fix some cars without a full battery replacement, or possibly there are some other causes that aren't specifically the battery itself.

Bonelli told us the company is reaching out to customers who could be affected to schedule service. He said that the company is using OnStar diagnostics to identify cars that could have the issue and the company will contact those owners. Also any repairs or replacements of parts will be done at no cost to the owner.

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