GM installs software on Chevy Bolts to help prevent battery fires


General Motors finally has its plan to fix the issue in the midst of last year’s Chevy Bolt recall, which the automaker issued in response to a handful of battery fires. Affected customers should take their bolts to a dealer so the battery packs can be inspected, and GM says some of the modules that make up the pack can be replaced if “anomalies” are found. But dealers will also install “advanced on-board diagnostic software” on all affected vehicles.

That software, GM says, will be able to detect “potential problems related to changes in battery module performance before problems can develop.” The company says the software will be standard on all new Bolts moving forward.

Following last year’s recall, GM released a software update to dealers that limited the full battery capacity of the affected Bolts to just 90 percent in an effort to prevent fires. The company says dealers have been instructed to lift that limit when customers put in their bolts to get the new solution.

While there were only about five reports of fires, the problem with the Bolt’s battery pack was a concern as it uses the same LG Chem cells that are at the center of a similar problem with Hyundai’s Kona EV. Hyundai recalled the Kona EV in South Korea and the US earlier this year after more than a dozen reports of fires, and it has since outright canceled the electric SUV in its home market following a drop in sales. Hyundai’s recall, however, was a more dramatic solution as the automaker is replacing full battery packs for affected customers.