Chevy Bolt EV That Missed Battery Recall Spontaneously Combusts in MA Driveway
Written by Chris Chilton, CarScoops
Published Aug. 9, 2023
A 2021 Chevy Bolt caught fire outside its owner's house in Massachusetts---a blaze that might not have happened at all if the Bolt had been repaired as part of a recall announced by GM in 2021 when it discovered some EVs were catching fire due to faulty batteries.
The owner of the Bolt told reporters the car had not been updated. “They had no batteries to give us, so we were waiting,” she said in an interview with WCVB Channel 5 Boston.
GM originally announced it would replace the entire battery pack of every Bolt EV built between 2017 and 2022, but changed its stance this year, saying dealers would now only install software to monitor the battery’s condition.
The fact the car was parked outside gave emergency services good access to it when they were called out around 4:15 a.m. to the house in Great Hill Estates in Wareham. But extinguishing the blaze still turned into a mammoth job. Fire crews managed to put out the initial fire and continued to wet the car down, but the car’s lithium-ion battery ignited again 30 minutes later.
In total, the Wareham Fire Department spent three hours on the scene and used 11,000 gallons of water to ensure the Bolt was no longer a fire risk. The team used a special hose attachment that slides along the ground under an EV’s floor and cools the battery from below. The car apparently had already been charged and the owner confirmed the Bolt was not plugged in at the time, so the fire seems to have started spontaneously.
Fortunately, there were no injuries, though that’s partly thanks to the Chevy being parked out on the driveway.
“If this vehicle had been parked in a garage the results could have been disastrous,” Incident Commander Chief John Kelley said.