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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nobody said the transition to electric vehicles would be seamless, and the General Motors recall of every Chevy Bolt is the latest example of why it won't be.

Driving the news: GM's expanding Bolt recall over battery fire risks to include 2020-2022 models, and 2019 models that weren't covered by previous rounds.

  • The new recall of roughly 73,000 vehicles announced Friday will cost the auto giant $1 billion, GM said. That brings the total Bolt recall costs to $1.8 billion, per numerous reports.
  • GM's replacing defective battery modules over what it calls "rare" problems. The multiphase recall now covers every Bolt since the car's 2017 launch.

Why it matters: While lots of gas-powered cars are recalled, EV recalls are unwelcome at a time when automakers and the White House are looking to hasten the transition to cars with a plug.

  • EV sales have been surging, but they're still a tiny fraction of the market and will need to massively expand to reach President Biden's goal of 50% of sales by 2030.
  • GM is among several automakers to issue recalls over battery problems or other glitches. Others include Hyundai, Porsche and Ford (CNBC has a breakdown here).

What they're saying: "It’s an image hit, and not just for GM," Cox Automotive analyst Michelle Krebs tells Axios.

  • Krebs notes that "GM is so committed to electric vehicles that I don't think it will do anything to derail that," and that she expects industry-wide EV sales to keep growing a lot.
  • However, she adds that it's too soon to know whether industry recalls will have any drag on sales as EVs move beyond early adopters.

Doug Parks, a top GM executive, said in a statement alongside the new recall that "as leaders in the transition to an all-electric future, we know that building and maintaining trust is critical."

  • "GM customers can be confident in our commitment to taking the steps to ensure the safety of these vehicles," he said.

The big picture: The recall comes as GM is pouring $25 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025, with plans for well over two-dozen new models.

  • One bright spot for GM is that its future models will use its Ultium battery propulsion system that's separate from the Bolt's batteries.
  • Meanwhile, GM says its pursuing reimbursement from LG Chem over battery defects behind the Bolt recall, and shares of the Korean industrial conglomerate are sliding.

Go deeper

GM plans to double revenues by 2030 as it rolls out EVs and services

GM CEO Mary Barra. Photo: GM

General Motors plans to double its revenues over the next decade as it transitions to an all-electric future, tapping into software and subscription services that enable new vehicle experiences and connect customers' digital lives, the company told reporters on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's an extraordinary target for a lumbering industrial giant that is trying to transform itself from automaker to "platform innovator."

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."

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.