There have been a number of high profile Chevy Bolt EV fires recently, including two within the past few weeks. Apparently the problem is bad enough that Chevrolet has issued some advice on its recall page.
Not only does Chevrolet acknowledge that there is a problem, it’s also advising owners (opens in new tab) of the 50,932 affected 2017-2019 Bolt EVs not to charge their car overnight, and not to park them inside.
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“General Motors has been notified of two recent Chevrolet Bolt EV fire incidents in vehicles that were remedied as part of the safety recall announced in November 2020,” the recall page (opens in new tab) says, “Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking owners of 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt EVs who were part of the recall population to park their vehicles outdoors immediately after charging and not leave their vehicles charging overnight while we investigate these incidents.”
The NHTSA has also issued a consumer alert (opens in new tab) with the same advice, noting that the affected Chevy Bolts are at risk of smoking and igniting internally. The agency also recommends drivers don’t park their cars near any buildings immediately after charging.
The two recent fires involved Bolts that had been remedied as part of a recall that began last November. So Chevy is asking drivers of 2017-2019 Bolts that were recalled to play it safe while an investigation is taking place.
Considering two cars did go up in flames within a two-week period, plus the fact there have been other confirmed Bolt fires in the past, Chevrolet needs to figure out what the cause is, and naturally whether it puts any other customers at risk.
If you do own one of the affected cars, this doesn’t mean you can’t recharge your car at all. But you should monitor the charging, and be alert should anything go wrong. That’s also why the company is advising people to keep the cars outside.
You don’t want to be asleep if your car goes up in flames. And considering the fact EV fires are trickier to put out, firefighters are going to have an easier job dealing with any fires if they’re outside. Plus, the damage is easier to contain if there are no homes or buildings within reach of the flames.
If you don’t have a 2017-2019 Bolt, or your model wasn’t part of the recall population, then you hopefully don't have anything to worry about. Like gas cars, electric cars are very safe and shouldn't burst into flames for no reason.