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There's a lot of drama happening in the Korean EV forums over Kona battery recalls. And then GM Korea posted a notice on the website about the upcoming Bolt battery recall, making things even more interesting. Although both recalls pin the blame largely on the battery, the two companies are taking different approaches to tackle the issue.

Hyundai seems relatively sure that a few of the battery packs shipped with Kona are sub-optimal. The software update provided by the recall tightens the checks for the potential battery failure signs and immobilizes the vehicle if a fault is detected by that algorithm. Somewhere I read that the voltage deviation exceeding 0.02V between the cells after balancing would be one of the criteria. Nearby service center would dispatch a tow truck to get the faulty battery module replaced. In most cases, just a single module is replaced, not the entire assembly. There have been multiple reports of Konas becoming immobile a second time and necessitating another module replacement.

Essentially, Hyundai's trying to rat out faulty battery modules more aggressively with the recall. I suppose this would cost less than a full battery assembly replacement for the all the Konas with the LG Chem battery, but at the same time cause severe inconvenience for the owners. You'd potentially have to get the car serviced two or more times on your time. Last time I checked, almost all the affected vehicles got the software update, with several hundreds getting the module replacement thereafter.

GM is taking a completely different path at the moment. Charging to full was picked out as a precursor to the fires but little else has been put on the table. In other words, GM isn't sure about anything right now except that it's got those five fires on their hands that need to be solved. Thus, the software update seems to just essentially put all the affected Bolts to hilltop reserve mode and not much else. The existing software doesn't react drastically like immobilizing the vehicle even in the light of failing battery - we've seen several threads about the car getting severely reduced range, but still being drivable - and I have a hunch this part isn't going to be changed with the recall, either.

So, GM is going at this very conservatively, as it has always has. In my view, nothing substantial has happened yet despite the big "recall" title and I'm going to just drive and charge my Bolt as usual. I do wonder if additional measures that's promised after January 1, 2021 is going to mirror the Hyundai-style "fault hunting", though. We'll have to wait and see.
 

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Thanks for your perspective. I’m going to lower my hopes and expectations now after hearing this.
 

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In other words, GM isn't sure about anything right now except that it's got those five fires on their hands that need to be solved.
I think this needs to be qualified. GM isn't publicly acknowledging anything right now. I'm sure they know a whole lot more than they are publishing, but GM tends to be very focused on their business partnerships.

I wonder whether part of Hyundai's more direct approach with LG is because they are both Korean companies. Also, GM has entered a much stronger business partnership with LG (with their Ultium line), so GM might want to tread softly with their business partner.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I think this needs to be qualified. GM isn't publicly acknowledging anything right now. I'm sure they know a whole lot more than they are publishing, but GM tends to be very focused on their business partnerships.

I wonder whether part of Hyundai's more direct approach with LG is because they are both Korean companies. Also, GM has entered a much stronger business partnership with LG (with their Ultium line), so GM might want to tread softly with their business partner.
To clarify, I meant that as in GM isn't sure what to do publicly other than issue this borderline non-recall / cautious advisory action given what's being known at the moment. I fully agree that GM knows a whole lot more than it is letting on.

As for the Hyundai's situation, the specific battery packs in question are manufactured at HL Green Power, a joint-venture company between Hyundai Mobis and LG Chem. You can guess where H and L come from. Hyundai Mobis is Hyundai Motor's parts manufacturing subsidiary, mirroring what ACDelco is to GM. So if anything, both Hyundai and GM are into serious partnerships with LG here.
 

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To clarify, I meant that as in GM isn't sure what to do publicly other than issue this borderline non-recall / cautious advisory action given what's being known at the moment. I fully agree that GM knows a whole lot more than it is letting on.

As for the Hyundai's situation, the specific battery packs in question are manufactured at HL Green Power, a joint-venture company between Hyundai Mobis and LG Chem. You can guess where H and L come from. Hyundai Mobis is Hyundai Motor's parts manufacturing subsidiary, mirroring what ACDelco is to GM. So if anything, both Hyundai and GM are into serious partnerships with LG here.
Interesting... I hadn't realized HL Green Power was their partnership. Mobis also supplies KIA, if I remember correctly, and the Niro EV powertrain is built by Mobis.

Anyway, I see your point. I guess my point is just that GM knows exactly what's going on, and this locking out 10% battery is just their immediate response while they work out the details of their solution (which might look a whole lot like Hyundai's). GM has been blamed (I won't go into whether it was justified) for not taking action sooner, which explains a lot more about the more conservative approach. If another fire happened before GM took significant action, it would look really bad for them.
 

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Somewhere I read that the voltage deviation exceeding 0.02V between the cells after balancing would be one of the criteria.t drive and charge my Bolt as usual. I do wonder if additional measures that's promised after January 1, 2021 is going to mirror the Hyundai-style "fault hunting", though. We'll have to wait and see.
This is what I think GM would/should have done two years ago with the Bolt. But I think they didn't because they realized they had many thousands out there. The fires pushed them to finally act.
 

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GM has entered a much stronger business partnership with LG (with their Ultium line), so GM might want to tread softly with their business partner.
I don't think any of Chung Mo-Kung's three daughters (Hyundai) are married into the Koo family (LG), or vice versa, but... it's hard to imagine GM holding a stronger partnership as one between Korea's two largest chaeboldul. If you want to see GM's partnership skills in action, look at the Opel Ampera-E.
 

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I don't think any of Chung Mo-Kung's three daughters (Hyundai) are married into the Koo family (LG), or vice versa, but... it's hard to imagine GM holding a stronger partnership as one between Korea's two largest chaeboldul. If you want to see GM's partnership skills in action, look at the Opel Ampera-E.
I think Eric meant stronger than their Bolt connection?
Yes, maybe my language could have been more clear. GM's partnership with LG just got a lot stronger with Ultium and Lordstown. I'm not saying it's a stronger partnership than Hyundai + LG (I'm not qualified to speak on who's married whom), but GM's LG partnership has recently become a lot stronger.

As for Opel, that wasn't a partnership. GM owned Opel, and then they sold Opel. That's a very different relationship.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't think any of Chung Mo-Kung's three daughters (Hyundai) are married into the Koo family (LG), or vice versa, but... it's hard to imagine GM holding a stronger partnership as one between Korea's two largest chaeboldul. If you want to see GM's partnership skills in action, look at the Opel Ampera-E.
A trivia - most of the Korean chaebol families are intertwined. While it's true that the former Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Mong-koo does not have any of his offsprings married to LG's Koo family, one of his brother's daughter is. Nevertheless, this in itself has little relevance in the battery-related alliance.
 

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This is what I think GM would/should have done two years ago with the Bolt. But I think they didn't because they realized they had many thousands out there. The fires pushed them to finally act.
Well it's easier to say in hindsight. Initially we'd just get a handful of reports of the Bolt stopping it it's tracks, or drastically losing range overnight, which doesn't raise the safety alarm as much as a fire does. A couple of fires doesn't necessarily raise the alarm either. At just 5 fires and then the recall, I'd say GM has handled the issue with sufficient urgency based on what little we know about what they knew.

It really doesn't pay to cover up safety issues in the automotive industry, because digging a deeper hole doesn't help get out of that hole.
 

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Well it's easier to say in hindsight. Initially we'd just get a handful of reports of the Bolt stopping it it's tracks, or drastically losing range overnight, which doesn't raise the safety alarm as much as a fire does. A couple of fires doesn't necessarily raise the alarm either. At just 5 fires and then the recall, I'd say GM has handled the issue with sufficient urgency based on what little we know about what they knew.

It really doesn't pay to cover up safety issues in the automotive industry, because digging a deeper hole doesn't help get out of that hole.
Yes, we're all operating with a bit of hindsight bias here; however, some of the issues that @GJETSON and others have brought up (e.g., cell variance and underperforming cells) predated a majority of these fires. We're now simply connecting the dots.

In the case of the Bolt EV, though, unfortunately, these issues were probably overshadowed for GM. There was so much vitriol toward and unwarranted criticism of the Bolt EV from -- I'll just say it -- Tesla fanboys and their ilk, that GM probably couldn't focus on what we now know to be significant issues. So we got cushier seats. Nice. Our butts can now be comfier as the car goes up in flames.

Clearly GM knew that there were issues with the source materials (e.g., battery cells) and the assembly process; otherwise, they wouldn't have focused on LG's manufacturing QC, explicitly called out assembly sequences required to optimize the packs, and initiated module replacement processes. Like us, though, they had no reason to tie those manufacturing and quality issues to potential fires until now, not until after a pattern had emerged.
 

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GM probably couldn't focus on what we now know to be significant issues. So we got cushier seats. Nice. Our butts can now be comfier as the car goes up in flames.
I think you are not giving GM nearly enough credit. They clearly can chew gum, and walk at the same time.

For 2020 we got way more than cushy seats. We got a new battery, and possibly BMS, with 10% more usable capacity, 3% more buffer capacity, and a 4X improvement in voltage spread.
 

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I think you are not giving GM nearly enough credit. They clearly can chew gum, and walk at the same time.

For 2020 we got way more than cushy seats. We got a new battery, and possibly BMS, with 10% more usable capacity, 3% more buffer capacity, and a 4X improvement in voltage spread.
Yes, I was being a bit sarcastic (focusing on the least substantive change that got the most amplification), but I have to wonder how much negativity about the Bolt EV distracted GM from discovering that these issues might actually be fire hazards. Like I said, clearly GM knew there were issues (as we did), which is why they addressed those issues with late 2019 MY Bolt EVs and on; however, would they have been able to preempt this fire issue? I don't think it was on any of our radars that the variance and discrepancies we were seeing were indications of a potential fire risk.
 

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would they have been able to preempt this fire issue?

I don't think it was on any of our radars that the variance and discrepancies we were seeing were indications of a potential fire risk.
We will see. If this patch prevents more fires, then yes.

It may not of have been on our radars, but I guarantee the battery engineers were considering the possible outcomes. And just like engineers on the Challenger booster team, and the VW emissions team, they got pushback from folks in charge of marketing and finance.
 

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We will see. If this patch prevent more fires, then yes.

It may not of have been on our radars, but I guarantee the battery engineers were considering the possible outcomes.
I'm sure. Why else would the service manual say that hooking up the battery in the wrong sequence could result in damage, overheating, and fires?

I'd love to hear from Professor John D. Kelly at this point. I believe the Bolt EV he tore down was a 2017 and would be part of this recall. It would be interesting to see whether, after he reassembled it properly, his battery is still displaying the same voltage variances common to our early model Bolt EVs.
 

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I'd love to hear from Professor John D. Kelly at this point. I believe the Bolt EV he tore down was a 2017 and would be part of this recall. It would be interesting to see whether, after he reassembled it properly, his battery is still displaying the same voltage variances common to our early model Bolt EVs.
Yeah.. I hope he is doing OK in this pandemic. I would dearly love to have him video the whole process of this recall on his Bolt, and then the final fix GM comes up with. He may be our best hope for really finding out what they have done to address this problem.
 

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Yeah.. I hope he is doing OK in this pandemic. I would dearly love to have him video the whole process of this recall on his Bolt, and then the final fix GM comes up with. He may be our best hope for really finding out what they have done to address this problem.
Anyone on here with an inside track to get him to do exactly this? This would be awesome if this could be done.
 
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