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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The recent Chevy Bolt fire on May 1, 2021 occurred just days after the “final fix” for the fire issue was announced. We sat down with the owner to discuss what happened, tell the inside story, and try to find some answers…

Join me with an exclusive that walks you through the morning of that fateful fire, and a brief analysis on the situation, plus things that you can do to keep yourself safe.

 

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This sounds like there was no neglagence on the part of the owner.
Only possible fault I can find is that he charged his Bolt in his garage. I believe GM recommended it should be charged outside, but not sure if that guidance was only for Bolts that didn't have the fix applied or was general guidance for all Bolts affected by the recall, fix or not.
 

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"The car had not been driven that morning, and it was unplugged at around 75% charge."
"The car was unplugged at the time of the fire and had been for several hours."


Yikes! What else could an owner be expected to do to ensure reasonable safety?

If it gets to the point where you have to have a long checklist of "do's and don'ts" for using and charging the Bolt that will be terrible for GM.
 
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I wonder if GM has telemetry data from OnStar regarding times/miles driven and state of charge for this particular vehicle?
 

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Only possible fault I can find is that he charged his Bolt in his garage. I believe GM recommended it should be charged outside, but not sure if that guidance was only for Bolts that didn't have the fix applied or was general guidance for all Bolts affected by the recall, fix or not.
No. It was to be kept outside if you needed 100% and did not get the early defense and could not do the adjustments.
This one is very troublesome. Even if the owner is stretching any truths, ChEV will know if the early defense was applied which was supposed to protect against full-charging related fires.
 

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This sounds like there was no neglagence on the part of the owner.
Well, it's unlikely that an owner is going to admit to any negligent behavior in an interview.

The real issue is that the temporary recall was applied. That's something that can be independently verified, and if true, undermines GM's identified root cause and planned solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Only possible fault I can find is that he charged his Bolt in his garage. I believe GM recommended it should be charged outside, but not sure if that guidance was only for Bolts that didn't have the fix applied or was general guidance for all Bolts affected by the recall, fix or not.
GM's recommendation is only to charge outside if you cannot set the reduced charge limit, or until you have the temporary fix applied.
 

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The sad fact is that GM investigated using LiFePO4 cells for the Gen1 Volt battery but then went with li-Ion instead. All their subsequent batteries have all been Li-Ion, not the much safer LiFePO4 chemistries. If they had gone with LiFePO4 from the start, quite possibly none of these fires would have happened.
 

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Well doesn’t this info open a can of worms. I was using the infrequent charge-when-needed approach.
Yeah, this has me concerned as well, the way he explained he does his charging is pretty much the exact way I have been doing it. Guess i'll be changing that up for now and moving the Bolt outside to charge just to be extra safe.

To be clear, by pretty much exact, I typically let my battery get down to about ~50 miles and charge it back up to ~80%. So not exact, but dang close.
 

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I find it odd that: "he saw fire erupt from inside coming from the back seat." The battery pack is a separate part that is isolated from the car cabin. The EV fires I've seen, the fire starts on the bottom and outside of the cabin and takes a while to fully engulf the car. I'm sure this is intentional to protect the occupants as long as possible. It seems odd for the battery to burn through the battery case under the car and then burn through the bottom of the car cabin before anything else.
 

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I find it odd that: "he saw fire erupt from inside coming from the back seat." The battery pack is a separate part that is isolated from the car cabin. The EV fires I've seen, the fire starts on the bottom and outside of the cabin and takes a while to fully engulf the car. I'm sure this is intentional to protect the occupants as long as possible. It seems odd for the battery to burn through the battery case under the car and then burn through the bottom of the car cabin before anything else.
The manual service disconnect is under the rear seat and sits on top of the battery pack. That's probably a weak point for gas and heat to escape as there have been other reports of fires in the Bolt starting from the rear seat area. The biggest problem here is that GM thought the temp fix was enough to prevent fires until the permanent fix was released. If that permanent fix is based (even partially) on a "better version" of the temp fix, the permanent fix may not be good enough either. I'm sure that's what people are worried about.

I hate to finally have to admit this but I think at this point, everyone should be parking their Bolt outside away from structures! Even if GM responds by saying the temp fix was only meant to "reduce" fire risk and the permanent fix will "eliminate" it, I think owners will have very little confidence in their solution now.

Mike
 

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The manual service disconnect is under the rear seat and sits on top of the battery pack. That's probably a weak point for gas and heat to escape as there have been other reports of fires in the Bolt starting from the rear seat area. The biggest problem here is that GM thought the temp fix was enough to prevent fires until the permanent fix was released. If that permanent fix is based (even partially) on a "better version" of the temp fix, the permanent fix may not be good enough either. I'm sure that's what people are worried about.

I hate to finally have to admit this but I think at this point, everyone should be parking their Bolt outside away from structures! Even if GM responds by saying the temp fix was only meant to "reduce" fire risk and the permanent fix will "eliminate" it, I think owners will have very little confidence in their solution now.

Mike
Yeah, after reading that article the first thing I did was move my car out of the garage into the driveway. Told my wife the car isn't going to be put back into the garage until there is more information on this latest fire as it does contradict the claims from GM about the conditions fires can occur.

The other concerning factor is that if this really more related to deep cycle charges versus near 100% charges, what does that mean for people who need to use their Bolts on trips that result in the need to deep cycle charge often?
 

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I am really glad our garage is separate form our house, and
Just '17 to early '19 models, right? Glad I decided to spend a little more on new... so far.
We spent the money on new, back when the Bolt first came out, and they weren't paying you to take one back then.
 
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