Chevy Bolt EV Forum banner
1 - 20 of 56 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
634 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Car fires are devastating, and all eyes are watching as a handful of EVs go up in flames.

Sep 07, 2021 at 10:20am ET
By: Dave Rea

Over the last few months, we've seen no shortage of coverage of Chevy Bolt fires and recalls by the automotive, tech, and mainstream press. Of course, the Bolt EV / EUV recall is a big deal: it's the first 100% "full-fleet" safety recall of any mass-market EV, and the resulting fires have legitimately catastrophic consequences.

But it's worth asking: is a disproportionate amount of ink being spilled on this recall just because it's EV-related - and therefore new, different, and perhaps a bit scary?

As a Bolt owner, as a dad in a 2-EV household, and as an engineer who works on battery electronics daily, I believe a bigger-picture perspective on the Bolt recall is well-warranted.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
We have family that have warned my wife about the dangers of our new Bolt. She's come to me several times and asked questions about it. We sit down, look up the numbers of Bolts made, the number of Bolt fires and see that really small percentage that caught fire.

We look at how many Bolts have caught fire by year of manufacture and see the 2021's aren't having the issues some earlier years have had.

We look at the fact that we don't park in a garage (carport about 12 or 14 feet off to the side of the house.) We also charge it there, under that carport.

We talk about how I've set the max. charge level to 80% (did that back last summer).

We talk about how we don't run the charge level down low (once it seven months it dropped below 20% and was charged up to 70% within a few miles of dropping below the 20% level (our most recent Bolt road trip).

And we talk about some of the other high volume (vs. dangerous) recalls they've had on other vehicles.

The news is not the news. It's not about facts, it's not about truth, it's not about informing the public and letting them make decisions based on reality/facts/truth. It's about money, influence, authority, and control. Has been for years. The president gives a speech that lasts 20 minutes. Then the "news" spends 60 minutes telling you what he said/meant. What he said/meant depends on which network you watch. The truth? The facts? Nope. Not even close. The news these days is only (and still only partially) good for getting the upcoming weather forecasts. Even then they're guessing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
809 Posts
We look at how many Bolts have caught fire by year of manufacture and see the 2021's aren't having the issues some earlier years have had.
When I bought my 2018, there were no fires in 2017 models. When the 2019 models started shipping, there were no fires in 2017 or 2018 models. It wasn't until March of 2019 that the first reported fire occurred, which was in a 2018 Bolt. 2021's aren't having any issue yet because it takes some time for the defects to lead to catastrophic failure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
We have family that have warned my wife about the dangers of our new Bolt. She's come to me several times and asked questions about it. We sit down, look up the numbers of Bolts made, the number of Bolt fires and see that really small percentage that caught fire.

We look at how many Bolts have caught fire by year of manufacture and see the 2021's aren't having the issues some earlier years have had.

We look at the fact that we don't park in a garage (carport about 12 or 14 feet off to the side of the house.) We also charge it there, under that carport.

We talk about how I've set the max. charge level to 80% (did that back last summer).

We talk about how we don't run the charge level down low (once it seven months it dropped below 20% and was charged up to 70% within a few miles of dropping below the 20% level (our most recent Bolt road trip).

And we talk about some of the other high volume (vs. dangerous) recalls they've had on other vehicles.

The news is not the news. It's not about facts, it's not about truth, it's not about informing the public and letting them make decisions based on reality/facts/truth. It's about money, influence, authority, and control. Has been for years. The president gives a speech that lasts 20 minutes. Then the "news" spends 60 minutes telling you what he said/meant. What he said/meant depends on which network you watch. The truth? The facts? Nope. Not even close. The news these days is only (and still only partially) good for getting the upcoming weather forecasts. Even then they're guessing.
I love this summary of the “News” - I plan on quoting you
 

·
Registered
2021 Bolt LT, 2021 Kona EV SEL
Joined
·
690 Posts
I've consistently said since the very beginning of all this that the whole ordeal is way more about the perception of our Bolts rather than the actual details and risk. I think this is true for two reasons.
  1. The prolonged period of uncertainty coupled with several recall updates along the way that were inconclusive
  2. GM's lack of pushback
On the second note, it's interesting for me to observe because I'm used to more of a Toyota or VW reaction where they dig in their heels and fights for whatever is best for themselves. I wonder how much of it is related to LG taking on liability. If so, how shortsighted. People recognized Takata as the bad actor in those recalls right? Well right now people are recognizing GM as the bad actor, not LG.

I could ramble forever but that brings me to my ultimate point which is the biggest PR difference between the Bolt and Kona/Niro recalls was Hyundai from the beginning called out LG and stayed consistent, protecting their brand. GM by contrast has had to pretty much not do that at all in their communications, one would have to assume because of their more intimate relationship.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
The main fires have been in the '19 models--about a dozen or so out of thousands of cars. I had one of those '19 models with a VIN designated for recall. I set the charge limit to 90% as advised, and level 1 charged in my garage overnight in my garage for two years. GM bought back my '19, and I purchased a '22 EUV same day when my check arrived from GM. That was last June. I had the level 2 /240V install done in my garage for a net of a few hundred dollars, GM and rebates paying the rest. I now only have to charge a couple of hours a few times a week during the day. The dealer set the charge limit to 85% when I bought the car. I have just received a recall notice for the EUV to set the charge to 80% and install some electronic diagnostic tools. The latter might be worth doing. I don't drive a lot, so I'm not all that concerned. There have been no problems with the '22s so far. This one even has the steering wheel squeak in cold weather solved--at least so far. Changing the battery? I'm skeptical that it's more a PR move than anything else. After all, LG is paying for most of it.

I think GM hurt the Bolt by taking it off the market. They should have waited for an incident with a '22. It just opened itself up to media criticism--which is largely anti-EV anyways. Oil is big money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
I would add that GM’s public statements about not parking within 50 feet of another car or a building or anything left some of us unable to park and leave the car anywhere - thereby rendering it useless for anything other than a pleasure drive. The 50% reduction in range was the proverbial straw for many of us
 

·
Registered
2021 Bolt LT, 2021 Kona EV SEL
Joined
·
690 Posts
I've been dead set against hybrids from the get-go and have never owned one even though I'm an overall early BEV adopter/convert. Dual power-trains only means more complexity, higher costs and less efficient payload:power capacity because of the weight associated with both power trains. I felt vindicated fully before I ever saw that stat but I certainly won't be able to forget 2x as likely to go on fire as I proceed in gloating about being right.

My 1.6L Ford Fiesta was always better for the environment than your Explorer or F150 hybrid, a truck you didn't really need to begin with, just saying!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,149 Posts
I've been dead set against hybrids from the get-go and have never owned one even though I'm an overall early BEV adopter/convert. Dual power-trains only means more complexity, higher costs and less efficient payload:power capacity because of the weight associated with both power trains. I felt vindicated fully before I ever saw that stat but I certainly won't be able to forget 2x as likely to go on fire as I proceed in gloating about being right.

My 1.6L Ford Fiesta was always better for the environment than your Explorer or F150 hybrid, a truck you didn't really need to begin with, just saying!
Hybrids are a gateway drug to BEVs.

My story started with buying a Ford Fusion Hybrid to reduce my fuel costs. 130 mi/day adds up when driving a 23MPG gas hog like an Audi A6, and I saved over $150/mo driving the Fusion. When it reached 150K miles in 5 years, and my son needed a reliable car to get to college and back, I started exploring EV to further reduce my fuel expense. It worked well on round 1, so why not investigate BEV. So I bought the Bolt and gave the Fusion to my son. He still drives it, now up to about 175K miles and no major issues.

Result was another $100-150/mo in savings with the Bolt.

I am sure there are others here on the forum with stories of Hybrids being the door opener for them. So, while there is a lot to be said for bypassing Hybrid and jumping straight into BEV, that may push the comfort for many mainstream drivers.
 

·
Registered
2021 Bolt LT, 2021 Kona EV SEL
Joined
·
690 Posts
Hybrids are a gateway drug to BEVs.

My story started with buying a Ford Fusion Hybrid to reduce my fuel costs. 130 mi/day adds up when driving a 23MPG gas hog like an Audi A6, and I saved over $150/mo driving the Fusion. When it reached 150K miles in 5 years, and my son needed a reliable car to get to college and back, I started exploring EV to further reduce my fuel expense. It worked well on round 1, so why not investigate BEV. So I bought the Bolt and gave the Fusion to my son. He still drives it, now up to about 175K miles and no major issues.

Result was another $100-150/mo in savings with the Bolt.

I am sure there are others here on the forum with stories of Hybrids being the door opener for them. So, while there is a lot to be said for bypassing Hybrid and jumping straight into BEV, that may push the comfort for many mainstream drivers.
I totally get all of that, but from an engineering perspective (I am not an engineer, want to call that out, very much not an engineer) it never made sense to me. I'll admit the first time I was ever in a Prius and it moved on juice-alone it was a cool moment but it was just a moment. That should have been a baby step, not a 20-year long step. Why did it take a narcissistic salesman like Musk to put together the obvious for progress to be made?

Hydrogen lost the battle for green energy, great (really I think BEVs are superior vehicles and am happy) but it doesn't mean it wasn't a potentially viable other path that wasn't known about for a very long time. Here's Bob Lazar, that crazy engineer guy associated with UFOs with his hydrogen car in the 2000s synthesized from solar. The tech has been there for a very long time and we were an infrastructure migration away from being free from fossil fuels probably completely by now for personal transport.

So I dunno, I really don't want to pick a fight with, you know, literally everyone but I hate the hybrid as training wheels argument because I think all it really did was make people think they were having an impact while actually doing nothing. We could be living in a world right now where your cold weather niches are hydrogen, all new cars are BEVs and the reasons we're not are at least partially related to hybrids in my mind.

You'll find me making the similar types of arguments like we should be an all-nuclear (or other high-power output renewables like hydro) society by now and that the Space Shuttle program was a disaster when looked at objectively. AKA I like finding arguments rooted in logic that are counter to everyone's prevailing opinion 😁
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
I am sure there are others here on the forum with stories of Hybrids being the door opener for them. So, while there is a lot to be said for bypassing Hybrid and jumping straight into BEV, that may push the comfort for many mainstream drivers.
I bought in 2012 a Ford Focus with the new gearbox. And it was a great car until the hassle with the updates for the gearbox started. I was looking for a new car and wanted also to minimize the gas costs and the Volt Gen 1 shown up in my research. It was already on the market since 2011, I started to read about, went to forums to take the pulse and in April 2014 I bought it - exchanging my Ford Focus for it. It was a Premier Volt, with all the bells and whistles and the best car IMO. GM really made a great car with the Volt ! My commute to the office was 50 km round trip, so the Volt was perfect and I didn't use gas 9 out of 12 months of the year. Needless to say, from 2500 $ per year on gas, I ended up with paying 275 $. In 2018 I got a call from my dealer who was proposing me the new Volt Gen 2, something I was really interested in. But, the day before I was going to sign the paper for exchanging my Volt Gen 1 to the Volt Gen 2, GM announced they will stop the production of the Volt in March 2019. I was in a dilemma, get the Volt Gen 2 or ... switch to the Bolt EV. I was frustrated by the fact that the ERDT on the Volt started always at the moment I didn't need it and based on my commute and what I needed, I signed for the Bolt EV LT in December 2018. I was surprised by how nimble was to drive, so quick from stop, plenty of room in the back and most important, a hatchback + heated steering wheel !

The first year of ownership I drove it like crazy, about 27 000 km put on it before the end of the year. I love the Bolt EV, it's nimble, and it’s fast and can go everywhere. Then covid struck, and in the last two years I added only 20 000 km more.
So yes, a PHEV was my first then the BEV the second. I would not return to an ICE ever. I didn't go with a BEV from the beginning because at the time, the DCFC stations were very scarce and the distance between them was a little over the range of then the BEV on the market.
 

·
Registered
2022 Bolt EUV Premier w/ Sun n Sound
Joined
·
339 Posts
Hybrids are a gateway drug to BEVs.

I am sure there are others here on the forum with stories of Hybrids being the door opener for them. So, while there is a lot to be said for bypassing Hybrid and jumping straight into BEV, that may push the comfort for many mainstream drivers.
Absolutely. My Camry hybrid got me interested and my Fusion PHEV got me hooked.
The PHEV is a risk free way to jump into things and get a sense of how the BEV portion works and how much of your daily use can be BEV only.
In areas of the continent where I live and drive, we have one BEV and one PHEV and I don't see that changing anytime soon since we just can't reliably and safely go everywhere we need to go with a BEV.
Our current PHEV has a 50KM range and is essentially a BEV for 95% of our daily use but when a longer trip beckons then we just put some gas in it and off we go....this Saturday we have a 400KM round trip for a birthday party and the forecast is -16C, The Pacifica PHEV will be making that trip and the Bolt will stay comfortably in the driveway.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
3,149 Posts
I totally get all of that, but from an engineering perspective (I am not an engineer, want to call that out, very much not an engineer) it never made sense to me. I'll admit the first time I was ever in a Prius and it moved on juice-alone it was a cool moment but it was just a moment. That should have been a baby step, not a 20-year long step. Why did it take a narcissistic salesman like Musk to put together the obvious for progress to be made?

Hydrogen lost the battle for green energy, great (really I think BEVs are superior vehicles and am happy) but it doesn't mean it wasn't a potentially viable other path that wasn't known about for a very long time. Here's Bob Lazar, that crazy engineer guy associated with UFOs with his hydrogen car in the 2000s synthesized from solar. The tech has been there for a very long time and we were an infrastructure migration away from being free from fossil fuels probably completely by now for personal transport.

So I dunno, I really don't want to pick a fight with, you know, literally everyone but I hate the hybrid as training wheels argument because I think all it really did was make people think they were having an impact while actually doing nothing. We could be living in a world right now where your cold weather niches are hydrogen, all new cars are BEVs and the reasons we're not are at least partially related to hybrids in my mind.

You'll find me making the similar types of arguments like we should be an all-nuclear (or other high-power output renewables like hydro) society by now and that the Space Shuttle program was a disaster when looked at objectively. AKA I like finding arguments rooted in logic that are counter to everyone's prevailing opinion 😁
Thanks for not picking a fight :cool:

I get where you are coming from, just pointing out there are many paths to the same goal. What makes sense to you is fine for you, but others need a softer landing.

Knowing what I now know, I too would encourage folks to make the bolder choice. But, I also realize that is a step too far for many, some people need to take baby steps or they will freeze and never move forward.

I once did a group exercise in a large management training. About 100 people were lined up on one side of a large room and given instructions to simply get to the other side. The only game rule was, no two persons could use the same method (walk, run, crawl, somersaults, cartwheels, etc). All 100 students achieved the objective, but all arrived at the goal by a different approach. The point is, there is no right and wrong, just a multitude of approaches that suit each individual.

The minute we (as a group) pick a method to achieve a goal, we lose a large % of the audience. The more paths to the goal, the wider the take rate is. That is why Rental EVs, Uber EVs, Hybrids, PHEV, etc can appeal to a certain segment and lead them to the goal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,856 Posts
Same idea in a new thread I just started. The two should be combined:

Two 2017 Bolts:

A busy working acquaintance has made it a year-long project to constantly harrangue GM and the dealership, threatening to sue for loss of use, demanding more information, first on the software updates and then a buyback offer. After months of calls to a never-the-same-twice concierge and buyback team, he chose not to accept the terms of the offer. He retailated by requiring the dealership to take his Bolt and store it, to provide him with a rental car and reimburse him monthly for gasoline costs. It tires one to listen to his litany of telephone calls, e-mails, visits to the dealership demanding to know the date and time his battery replacement will take place, that they will give him back a washed car, charged to 100% and a written, notarized new warranty. He's showed them!

During the same year's time, all we've done is charged, driven and enjoyed our Bolt as we have for the past four years. The new battery gets here when it gets here, but won't change our use when it does.

jack vines
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
809 Posts
Putting it all in perspective:


View attachment 39805

View attachment 39807
I hate these infographics. There's no usable information in them. How many 20 year old EVs are there? How many 20 year old ICE vehicles catch fire every year?
 
1 - 20 of 56 Posts
Top