Chevy Bolt Fire Fix Allegedly Finalized
The Chevrolet Bolt has evolved from being General Motors’ superstar EV, radiating optimism for the company’s ambitious electrification strategy, to a public relations nightmare in relatively short order. While sales of the hatchback (and EUV) actually skyrocketed in Q2 of 2021, thanks largely to a diminished production output from the same period in 2020, shoppers are becoming aware of the fire reports and prolonged recall campaign that followed.
Another chapter has been added to that story, with GM now convinced that this will be the conclusion of the dejected tale. On Monday, the manufacturer issued an announcement that batteries for the Bolt had resumed production. But they won’t be coming out of the South Korean facility owned by LG Chem that’s been alleged as ground zero for the relevant defects. GM has instead elected to source the units from Michigan while LG improves quality assurance with the automaker peering over its shoulder, hopeful that customers will someday be able to use their car normally. Sadly, that moment still looks to be several months away.
The Chevrolet Bolt is Becoming Embarrassing for GM
If you’ve been following the Chevrolet Bolt, then you know it’s gone from a competitive front-motor, five-door all-electric subcompact to a tinderbox on wheels. Battery issues have resulted in numerous recalls while the associated fire risk is gradually making it the spiritual successor to the Ford Pinto flambé edition. Though, in fairness, the Bolt issue is nowhere near as devastating as those vintage Ford fires and pales in comparison to the General Motors’ own faulty ignition switch fiasco that left over 100 people dead.
It’s still leaving a bad impression, however, and GM’s latest decision (prudent as it might be) won’t be helping. As part of the recall campaign, the manufacturer has advised owners not to park the vehicle inside garages or close to buildings. It also has a charging protocol for customers to use to help minimize its risk of spontaneous combustion. Following yet another fire incident, GM has updated those recommendations and now advises drivers to park the Bolt at least 50 feet away from all other vehicles.
GM Upset With Battery Supplier, Expands Bolt Recall Again
On Friday, General Motors announced that its recall of the Chevrolet Bolt would result in a loss of $1 billion. But only after it expanded the campaign to encompass every electric vehicle it has produced. Rather than a single $800-million defect requiring fire-prone models to come back for repairs, GM is now confronting two problems and including Bolts (and Bolt EUVs) from 2019 onwards. The automaker has said this will necessitate an additional billion-dollar financial setback.
Keen to avoid being the recipient of the swelling public outrage, the manufacturer has been trying to shift criticism onto battery supplier LG Chem. The South Korean firm has been involved in numerous fire-related recalls pertaining to electric vehicles and GM would very much like to remind you of that, rather than take the blame for building and selling EVs that it’s advising customers not to charge too much or park anywhere near their home.
GM Replacing Battery Modules On Recalled Chevy Bolts
The Chevrolet Bolt has become the focus of negative attention following some fire incidents that were believed to be related to battery components. After two recalls, General Motors has decided to replace the battery modules of every model that could be impacted — rather than focusing on units with proven defects.
While it’s undoubtedly going to cost the company a fortune, this is probably the correct move. The implications of negative publicity stemming from repeat vehicle fires have a tendency to linger and be blown up to larger-than-life proportions. This is especially true if an automaker rushed that vehicle to market to better wrangle the segment. Just ask Ford about the Pinto if you’ve any doubts.
Place Your Bets: German Gigafactory Operational By October?
Tesla Gigafactory has been hit with more red tape than a last-minute Christmas present and is reportedly nearing completion. Elon Musk even suggested the facility could be producing vehicles by the end of October. However, some of the language emanating from his recent 0n-site engagement has us wondering what the odds are on that becoming a reality. The facility has already been delayed on more than one occasion by environmental activists and bureaucratic hang-ups. Though it now appears to be within a few weeks of commencing operations, Tesla’s CEO didn’t sound overly optimistic about the target.
On Friday, Musk met with Armin Laschet — Germany’s leading Conservative candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor — to tour the grounds of Gigafactory Berlin (technically Gruenheide). Though the main event was Elon’s preceding meeting with local Brandenburg officials that have not yet given final approval on the facility, citing ecological concerns.
Nikola Deathwatch: DOJ Indicts Founder for Lying to Investors
The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted Nikola founder Trevor Milton over claims made to investors that could have been intentionally misleading. Though anybody tracking the story from the beginning already knows the corporate plot surrounding the company’s trucks has more holes than a deli platter comprised entirely of baby swiss.
Tesla Keeps Raising Prices for U.S. But Not China
This year has already seen price increases across the board, thanks largely to the supply crisis created in the wake of our response to the pandemic. As it turns out, shutting down the global economy wasn’t ideal for maintaining business as usual and nobody in charge seems all that interested in returning things to normal. Automotive prices have become particularly troublesome, as manufacturing costs have risen and a deficit of product has made this a seller’s market.
Tesla has been raising rates all year, particularly on its higher-volume models. By June, price bumps had become so common with the brand that CEO Elon Musk had to address the matter. He blamed industry-wide supply chain pressures, noting that raw materials had become particularly costly. While a totally rational explanation, there are problems with it when you realize those end-of-line price hikes aren’t being extended to China.
Jeep Reportedly Working On Small BEV
Since Groupe PSA expressed an interest in buying up Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Jeep brand has ramped up talk about the merits of electrification – particularly in places like Europe. The off-road-focused brand even has a plan to offer zero-emissions compliant vehicles in every segment by 2025. However, the only vehicle Jeep’s currently producing that seems to support those claims is the Wrangler 4XE PHEV and it’s still dependent on gasoline for journeys beyond 21 miles.
But that’s supposed to be changing now that the rumor mill is flush with new suggestions that Jeep is working on a small SUV that will be wholly dependent upon electrical propulsion. Those claims have been confirmed by Jeep’s leadership, with hints that it might be getting a few friends.
Hot Tip: Chevrolet Addresses Bolt EV Fires, Readies Recall
Chevrolet has issued a statement to owners of Bolt EVs that could be subject to surprise fires while charging, offering more tips on how to avoid burning down their homes while it preps another recall. General Motors and supplier LG Chem have identified “two rare manufacturing defects” that they believe are causing the fires and are suggesting avoid charging their vehicles in an extremely specific manner until after the secondary recall has been conducted.
Bugatti Merges With EV Hyper Car Maker Rimac, and That's a Good Thing
We reported last fall how Volkswagen-owned Bugatti had its future products on hold, given the financially turbulent and awful year which was 2020. In addition to the global pandemic cutting production, sales, profits, and everything else, VW was pouring lots of development money into its I.D. electric vehicle lineup.
At the time, there were mumblings that EV startup Rimac was in talks to purchase the brand from VW. News broke yesterday of a merger, where Volkswagen and Porsche are not entirely out of the picture.
Rare Rides: The Very Obscure DKW Schnellaster Elektro-Wagon
Recently Rare Rides featured a very clean example of the DKW Schnellaster van from 1956. The front-drive and transverse-engine layout of the Schnellaster previewed in the Forties the basic format of the family minivan that would arrive over three decades later.
Among the standard Schnellasters produced, there was an even rarer variant: An electric version, as DKW experimented with the possibilities of early EV tech.
2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 Fast Charging CUV Exposed
The 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5 ultra-fast charging crossover utility vehicle was revealed yesterday, highlighting its Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP).
Ioniq 5’s 300-mile range, and 10-to-80 percent ultra-fast charging in 18 minutes showcases E-GMP technology.
General Motors Asks Government to Change Rules on EV Tax Credits
General Motors is asking the federal government to reset the federal EV tax credit system, effectively requesting a personal favor. As one of the first manufacturers to get an electric vehicle to market that people actually wanted to buy, GM hit the 200,000 cumulative EV sales cap in 2018. While customers could still get money back through April of 2020, the automaker exhausted its allotment of $7,500 subsidies before most of its rivals.
Now it wants to see the government press the reset button on the program under a pretext of fairness. GM executives are claiming that companies investing in electrification shouldn’t be handicapped by not getting additional money from taxpayers. It seems anything but fair, frankly. Though it should be said that all-electric models have a poor track record in terms of profitability. The Chevrolet Bolt certainly didn’t make any money, however, GM CEO Mary Barra has said new versions of the model will be capable of turning a profit.
2023 Cadillac Lyriq is Almost Here
Today the 2023 Cadillac Lyriq made its production debut. If this is the highlight of a century of innovation, what’s Cadillac been doing the rest of the time? Cadillac’s luxury electric SUV is starting a new era ahead of schedule. You can place your order in September for a 2022 first-half delivery.
2021 Mercedes-Benz EQB – Electricity Flows
Mercedes-Benz’s 2021 EQB is its third all-electric launch this year, along with the EQA 250 and EQS. The EQB will be produced for the local market in Beijing. The rest of the world will get their EQBs from Kecskemét, Hungary. The EQB will be the first pure EV made in Hungary.