General Motors is recalling roughly 64,000 Chevy Volts from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 model years to update software that would limit how long the car can be left idling on gasoline. The recall is intended to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in the case that a driver doesn’t shut the vehicle off.
The problem: the Chevy Volt is classified as an Extended Range Electric Vehicle (EREV), which means it can run on pure electricity or, when that runs out, can use the onboard gasoline engine-generator to extend its range. As with most other keyless entry-and-go vehicles, drivers turn the Volt on and off using a Stop/Start button. Since the Volt can run on electricity and is therefore silent in its operation, a driver can accidentally leave the plug-in hybrid running while it’s in electric mode.
Leaving the Volt on long enough can eventually drain the Volt’s battery and cause it to start running on the gasoline engine-generator. If left running on the gasoline engine-generator, the vehicle can cause carbon monoxide buildup in a confined space, such as a parking garage or home.
To note, the Volt emits a warning chime to alert a driver who has exited the car that the vehicle hasn’t been turned off.
GM is aware of two injuries related to the issue, both from carbon monoxide exposure. The automaker has asked dealers to stop selling new or used Volts from those model years until the software is updated. To note, dealers have several hundred unsold 2013 Volts on their lots as of this writing.
Vehicles affected: all 2011, 2012, and 2013 Chevrolet Volts.
Number of affected vehicles: roughly 64,000, of which:
- 50,249 are in the U.S.
- 13,937 are in Canada or have been exported
The fix: GM dealers will update the Volt’s software that will limit the time that it can be left in the “on” position. The update will be applied free of charge.
Contacts: owners may search for GM recalls using this site or contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020.