General Motors has begun buying back certain Chevy Bolt EV units from customers after it was discovered the vehicle’s batteries are prone to catching fire suddenly and without warning.
The automaker issued a recall for certain 2017-2019 model year Chevy Bolt EV vehicles last year after it received numerous reports from owners of the vehicle’s battery pack overheating and catching fire. It then issued a software update as a stop-gap remedy, which would prevent further vehicle fires but also limit the battery capacity of the vehicle to 90 percent. Then, in late April, the automaker announced it had found a permanent solution the problem. Owners were instructed to make an appointment with their dealership, where technicians would use diagnostic tools to test affected vehicles for battery problems and replace the battery packs as necessary. Technicians were also told to install a new “advanced onboard diagnostic software”, which can allegedly detect potential issues with the battery pack before major problems develop.
Now, according to InsideEVs, GM has begun buying back certain affected Chevy Bolt EV vehicles from customers as part of the recall program. A reader informed the site that GM had offered to either fix their Chevy Bolt EV or buy it back from them. They chose the buyback program and initiated a buyback request sometime in March. After 67 days, GM asked the customer to turn the vehicle over to a local dealership and mailed them a cheque. Another Bolt EV owner on Reddit also shared their experience with the buyback program, telling fellow owners that she was able to trade her defective Chevy Bolt EV in for a 2022 Chevy Bolt EV “for no money out of pocket.”
A reader told InsideEVs that GM is only offering the buyback program to owners in certain states. If a state has strict lemon laws, GM would offer to repurchase the car, but if they were less stringent, it would deny the buyback request. The publications says the majority of people that have had their buyback requests accepted are from California and Massachusetts.
A total of 50,932 units of the Chevy Bolt EV are affected by the defective battery issue. Involved vehicles feature batteries with defective cells that were manufactured by GM supplier LG Chem in South Korea between May 2016 and May 2019.