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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With the latest bad news on the 2017-2019 Bolt EV's, do we think GM is getting nervous about batteries, and more so their understanding of what is causing thermal runaways?

My answer is Gosh, I sure hope not, however GM has one chance to get Ultium right, and if there are problems it will be a big setback for GM's electrification plans. My faith in GM's understanding of the problems in the Bolt is a bit shaken after a freshly software updated Bolt EV caught fire last week. This could be a sign that GM does not fully understand what is going on to cause the issues which would be worrying. Anyway, don't want to go too far on this topic, and turn it into FUD, but wonder how the members here that drive Bolt Ev's are feeling ??
 

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I was not aware of this story until I read your posts but, as a potential first time EV owner, this definitely has me concerned about purchasing a first-year electric Hummer.

I was already concerned about purchasing a brand new electric vehicle after reading about the recent Taycan recall due to sudden power loss while driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I was not aware of this story until I read your posts but, as a potential first time EV owner, this definitely has me concerned about purchasing a first-year electric Hummer.

I was already concerned about purchasing a brand new electric vehicle after reading about the recent Taycan recall due to sudden power loss while driving.
Yes, these battery fires are unnerving, for sure. The issue with the Taycan is just software. I have some concern about the Hummer and the wireless Battery Management System, and hope GM has built in extra redundancy to make sure we are not going to have any issues. The Ultium pack and system is all new compared to the Bolt EV, and so it's unlikely to have a common problem, but I would feel more comfortable if GM showed that they understand the Bolt issues, and do the right thing for customers.
 

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I drive a 2017 Bolt, had the battery checked and the software updated. The issue has only occurred on batteries built in Korea, the second generation ones built in the US have not had any fires, so far. When they checked my battery cells they all came back perfectly balanced, and I feel that if it is truly a manufacturing defect, my car would have burned already if it had the defect. I have 96K miles on the car.

But if GM wants to update my entire battery, I will take a new one.

FYI, plenty of Teslas have burned as well, look at the new Model S Plaid fire. Lithium batteries are always going to be susceptible to fires, that is just a fact. I witnessed an F150 ignite and burn right in front of me on a freeway many years ago. Gas cars can burn also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I drive a 2017 Bolt, had the battery checked and the software updated. The issue has only occurred on batteries built in Korea, the second generation ones built in the US have not had any fires, so far. When they checked my battery cells they all came back perfectly balanced, and I feel that if it is truly a manufacturing defect, my car would have burned already if it had the defect. I have 96K miles on the car.

But if GM wants to update my entire battery, I will take a new one.

FYI, plenty of Teslas have burned as well, look at the new Model S Plaid fire. Lithium batteries are always going to be susceptible to fires, that is just a fact. I witnessed an F150 ignite and burn right in front of me on a freeway many years ago. Gas cars can burn also.
ya, I wondered how you were feeling about it since you own a Bolt, and have skin in the game. Hell Ya, if you can get a new Bolt, or new battery it's making lemonade out of lemons. On the comparison to gas cars, Bolts now have more reported fires than the national average per 1000 cars than ICE cars, which is not a good statistic. I think GM needs to act quickly on this, and get it out of the news. Obviously LG should be responsible for most of the cost, but after the Hyundai fiasco, LG has to be taking some lumps financially. Maybe this is why they wanted to quickly spin off LG Energy Solutions away from the main LG.

While I agree with you that Lithium Batteries can burn, some are much more susceptible than others, Tesla model S 85 series for example have had far more fires than any other series of Tesla (you would never find one of those charging in my garage), and Tesla flashed a few software updates to them to limit the full charge and also charging speed. That new Plaid fire was something, to happen in the first 2 days. There have also been 2 reports of PLAID battery failures so far online, which is a very high rate considering deliveries just started a month ago.
 

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There is something I find really strange about these battery fire reports. I have not found a single report where the car was actually being driven when it caught on fire. Every report I have seen indicates the car was parked, and may or may not have been plugged in. One report had indicated the car was driven a few miles, then parked, and caught fire shortly thereafter. If there is a mechanical defect in the cells, I would think that they would be more likely to have a thermal runaway when under the stress of powering the car, similar to the recent Model S Plaid fire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There is something I find really strange about these battery fire reports. I have not found a single report where the car was actually being driven when it caught on fire. Every report I have seen indicates the car was parked, and may or may not have been plugged in. One report had indicated the car was driven a few miles, then parked, and caught fire shortly thereafter. If there is a mechanical defect in the cells, I would think that they would be more likely to have a thermal runaway when under the stress of powering the car, similar to the recent Model S Plaid fire.
Yes, its too early and too few details have been released for us outsiders to figure out the pattern, but generally all lithium ion batteries are most vulnerable while charging at a high state of charge. Also if charged to 100%, then driving a bit, and using regen, which is the same as DC fast charging to the battery. My guess which is complete speculation and not based on any evidence, is we either have a problem with charger / BMS algorithms, which are not charging all cells and modules equally, or there is a specific problem inside the cells, with either a materiel issue (separator), or manufacturing issue, which is what Hyundai found on the Kona EV. If I was at GM, I would be looking at the batteries involved in the fires, and manufauring dates for the batteries and equipment, see if any patterns show up? As there are more fires, there should start to be a pattern, if there is a common problem.

Yes, I have seen a few Tesla's fires while charging, but others including a friend of mine (S 85) which caught fire while driving on the freeway.
 

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I don’t currently own an EV but have an Edition 1 SUT reservation. My biggest concern is nighttime charging in the garage. My daughter’s bedroom is upstairs, very near the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don’t currently own an EV but have an Edition 1 SUT reservation. My biggest concern is nighttime charging in the garage. My daughter’s bedroom is upstairs, very near the garage.
Fair concern, however battery fires are very rare in general. Bolt EV's that have caught fire have a manufacturing issue, this is not typical for an Ev.
 

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Also if charged to 100%, then driving a bit, and using regen, which is the same as DC fast charging to the battery.
Regen is completely disabled on the Bolt when above 95% charge. Interestingly enough, that is not the case with my Mach E, but it has a 10% buffer. The Bolt only has a 5% buffer.
 
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