The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will open a review to ensure all defective electric vehicle battery packs manufactured by Korean supplier LG Energy Solution have been recalled and properly replaced or repaired.
According to Reuters, NHTSA administrators will open a review to ensure that companies that purchased lithium-ion battery packs from LG Energy Solution are aware of the defects related to these products and that “thorough safety recalls,” have been conducted when appropriate. The safety watchdog has issued recalls for several vehicles featuring LG Energy Solution batteries including but not limited to GM’s Chevy Bolt EV and Chevy Bolt EUV compact cars. Other automakers that have issued recalls for the defective batteries include Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Stellantis.
A spokesperson for the Korean battery supplier said the NHTSA inquiry is part of a standard follow-up procedure and the company will fully co-operate with the agency’s requests. LG Energy Solution parent company LG Chem covered the majority of the costs of the Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV recall on behalf of GM, which totalled roughly $1.9 billion USD.
GM recalled more than 140,000 examples of the Bolt EV and Bolt EUV last summer after NHTSA received a number of reports from owners of vehicles spontaneously catching fire. The fires were later linked to manufacturing defects in the battery packs themselves, with the batteries becoming prone to fire when a torn anode and folded separator are present within the same battery cell. NHTSA opened an investigation into the battery module fires in October of 2020, which was completed and closed in February. This latest inquiry addresses LG Energy Solution’s response to the recall and not the recall itself, to be clear.
GM will continue to collaborate with LG Energy Solution on electric vehicle batteries going forward, with the two companies entering a joint venture partnership, Ultium Cells LLC, to manufacture vehicle batteries at a variety of plants in the United States and China.