GM tells Bolt owners to park 50 feet from other cars in parking lots

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Detroit – As it searches for a solution to a battery fire risk, General Motors released another safety recommendation for Chevrolet Bolt owners on Wednesday: If you park in a parking lot, keep your car at least 50 feet away from vehicles. other vehicles.

A customer’s concern about the safety of leaving their electric vehicle in a parking lot led the automaker to provide additional advice to Bolts owners, all of whom GM has recalled, spokesman Dan Flores said.

“In order to reduce potential damage to nearby structures and vehicles in the rare event of a potential fire, we recommend parking on the top floor or on an outdoor patio and parking 50 feet or more from another. vehicle, ”Flores said. in a report. “In addition, we always ask you not to leave your charging vehicle unattended, even if you are using a charging station in a parking lot.”

Bloomberg first released Bolt’s latest customer recommendation on Wednesday. GM previously instructed Bolt owners to charge the battery only 90%, charge it more frequently, and avoid depleting the battery below about 70 miles of remaining range. They must also park the vehicle outside.

GM recently had to recall every Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV – more than 141,000 – after batteries caught fire in a handful of EVs. GM and battery supplier LG Energy Solution are working to understand how two “rare” battery faults suspected to be the source of the fires occurred. The automaker has confirmed 12 Bolt battery fires, up from 10 in its last recall last month.

“We are aware of 12 GM-confirmed battery fires that have been investigated involving Bolt EV vehicles in the previous and new recall population,” Flores said. “There have been three injury reports. We continue to share data with NHTSA.”

The recall of GM’s only electric products on the market comes as the automaker struggles to become a leading manufacturer of electric vehicles.

But the automaker does not produce any electric vehicles at the moment. He halted production of the Bolts until he again felt confident in supplying LG.

GM says the battery fires are the result of two “rare” manufacturing flaws: a torn anode tab and a bent separator found together in the cells. The battery cells were manufactured at two LG facilities, one in Korea and the other in Holland, Michigan. The battery packs are assembled at an LG plant in Hazel Park.

“We are still working with LG around the clock to resolve the issue,” Flores said. “Both companies understand the urgency to act as quickly as possible, but, again, the most important thing here is that we have to get it right.”

LG Energy Solution president Denise Gray, who was keynote speaker at the Battery Show in Novi on Wednesday, only told reporters after her speech: “Right now our teams are working so hard together to overcome all of this. and I’m sure later, as the information is released, they’ll make sure it’s available to you. “

The Detroit automaker estimates the recall will cost $ 1.8 billion and is working with LG to determine how much of the bill the supplier will have to pay.

GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson told RBC’s Global Industrials Conference last Friday that GM is “engaged in high-level conversations with them about how we handle financial responsibility. We expect that. we were getting a refund for that. “

While it is still in the process of fixing the faults, GM says it will replace faulty battery modules for Bolt customers.

“The number one goal right now is obviously to fix the production line, clean up the manufacturing process and get back to cell production and ultimately get a path for these vehicles to be repaired. and… doing what’s right for our customers, ”Jacobson said at the conference.

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently told the Detroit News that it “currently has no open investigation into the suspected fires with LG batteries outside of GM,” but added that it was “in contact with LG to identify other vehicles that may be affected. “

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