GM advising some Bolt EV owners to park 50 feet away from other cars in case of fire

Source: By Michael Wayland, CNBC • Posted: Thursday, September 16, 2021

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV fire

The Vermont State Police released this photo of the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV that caught fire on July 1, 2021 in the driveway of state Rep. Timothy Briglin, a Democrat. Vermont State Police

DETROIT – General Motors is advising some Chevrolet Bolt owners to not park their electric cars within 50 feet of other vehicles to reduce the risk of a potential fire spreading to nearby cars and trucks.

The warning follows the Detroit automaker recalling more than 140,000 of the EVs produced since 2016 due to the risk of batteries spontaneously catching fire from “two rare manufacturing defects.”

GM has confirmed fires in at least 12 vehicles, but more continue to be reported. At least one of the recalled vehicles reportedly caught fire and spread to a Maserati and Hyundai in Sacramento, California.

The parking advice is being given to customers that call into the company’s call center about parking their recalled vehicles in parking lots or structures, according to GM spokesman Dan Flores. That’s different from previous warnings involving parking the vehicle outside, not charging it unattended overnight and changing the car’s charging settings that were issued to all owners.

“In an effort to reduce potential damage to structures and nearby vehicles in the rare event of a potential fire, we recommend parking on the top floor or on an open-air deck and park 50 feet or more away from another vehicle,” Flores said in an email.

The updated parking guidance was first reported by Bloomberg News.

The recall is expected to cost $1.8 billion, some of which the company plans to get from its battery supplier, LG Chem, which produced the defective batteries in South Korea and Michigan.

GM has said it is working with LG to rectify the issues and increase production of the new modules for the potentially defective battery packs. It will notify customers when replacement parts are ready.

GM says owners with questions should visit, contact its Chevrolet EV helpline at 1-833-EVCHEVY or contact their preferred Chevrolet EV dealer.