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2022 Chevrolt Bolt EUV should be charged outside due to a fire risk. Photo: Bill Rapai for Axios

This week I'm test-driving the 2022 all-electric Chevrolet Bolt EUV. Four days into the loan, it was recalled by General Motors.

Why it matters: The car's batteries may catch fire.

What's happening: GM isn't messing around. The company is telling all Bolt owners to park their vehicle outside and away from structures and to not charge the car overnight. And it gave owners special instructions for charging in the meantime to avoid extreme charging cycles.

  • Since I had a Bolt EUV from the media test fleet, GM advised me to follow the same instructions as any Bolt owner.

What I did: With help from a video on GM's dedicated Bolt recall page, I hit a few buttons on the car's touchscreen to limit the charging capacity to 90%.

  • This was pretty simple, but GM says anyone who feels uncomfortable making the change should ask a dealer to do it right away.
  • Following GM's instructions, I also recharged the battery more frequently rather than waiting until the battery was almost run down.
  • Those deep charging cycles can put thermal strain on a battery, causing a short.
  • I also parked the car outside my garage and per GM's advice, did not leave it charging overnight.

The root cause of the problem, per GM and its battery supplier, LG Chem, is a rare manufacturing defect in battery modules that can cause a short in a cell and trigger a fire.

  • GM says it is working with LG to increase battery production, and owners will be notified when replacement modules are ready.

What's next: This isn't the car review I expected to write about the Bolt EUV (electric utility vehicle), a slightly roomier version of the Bolt EV hatchback. I really enjoyed driving it, and I plan to share some of the highlights — including its hands-free highway-driving option — in the coming days.

  • But right now, the focus is on avoiding catastrophe.

Editor's note: Joann Muller tests new vehicles in her role as a juror for the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 7, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Electric takeaways from General Motors' new business plan

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

General Motors is offering detailed revenue goals for its electric vehicle business and new info about plans for new models.

Driving the news: Here are the juicy bits of their investor presentation and announcements Wednesday.

  • GM's gunning for "leadership in EV market share" — a shot across Tesla's bow — with a broad portfolio of high-volume EVs.
Oct 7, 2021 - Technology

GM will vastly expand hands-free driving by 2023

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Starting in 2023, owners of some premium General Motors vehicles will be able to push a button and navigate hands-free in 95% of driving situations — including highways, subdivisions and city streets.

Why it matters: Ultra Cruise — the next-generation assisted-driving technology that GM introduced Wednesday — is a giant step forward in the automaker's goal of "zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion."

Ben Geman, author of Generate
6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

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