According to Washington, DC, area ABC affiliate WJLA, Hajime Rojas drove over to her parent’s house in her 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV last July, parking it in the lot nearby. While inside with family, Rojas noticed that smoke had begun to billow out from underneath her car, prompting her to call 911.
The fire department arrived and extinguished the small fire before it produced any significant flames, but the heat was enough to damage the back seat and interior of the vehicle severely. After digging up information on other purported Chevrolet Bolt EV fires, Rojas went to GM and demanded the automaker investigate the reason for the fire, but the automaker refused.
“My point was ‘don’t you want to know what caused this?'” Rojas told WJLA.
Rojas eventually reached out to WJLA for help publicizing her case, worried that other Chevrolet Bolt EV owners may experience the same problem. The news agency reached out to GM for comment on the matter and the automaker then agreed to investigate the cause behind the fire. In addition to GM, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it is aware of the fire and is looking into it.
WJLA spoke to Dr. Eric Wachsman for its report on this fire. Dr. Wachsman, who is an EV owner and the director of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute, says that because lithium-ion batteries are flammable, there’s “just going to be some statistical variance in every little aspect of it that can cause, every once in a while, this to happen.” It was likely Rojas’ car’s battery had some sort of manufacturing defect, but we’ll only know for sure if GM releases the findings from its investigations.
Rojas told WJLA that she does not why or how her 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV overheated. She had owned the vehicle for just four months before it caught fire, though, so it wasn’t very heavily used prior to the fire.