Chevy Bolt Battery Range and Spontaneous Fires Class Action

Imagine that you are lying in your bedroom and you hear a whooshing sound below. When you go to investigate, you find that your car, sitting quietly in the garage, has burst into flames. This class action brings suit against General Motors, LLC for a battery defect in its 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt. The complaint alleges that GM made false claims about the car’s travel range and also that the defect makes the vehicle “susceptible to spontaneously igniting when fully or nearly charged…”

The Nationwide Class for this action is all persons and entities in the US who are or were owners of lessees of a 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt. In the alternative to the Nationwide Class, the complaint proposes California, Illinois, and Washington state classes.

One of the plaintiffs, Michelle Pankow, was nine months pregnant and at home with her daughter, while her husband was out of town on business. She was lying down in her bedroom when she heard a “whoosh” sound from the garage below. When she went down to investigate, she found the garage full of smoke.

She quickly opened the garage door and unplugged the car’s charger. Luckily, she was able to get her daughter and their dog out of the house, but the complaint says they “watched their house burn from the street in front of it. At one point, the family observed an explosion coming from the garage that caused the garage door to close.” The complaint says, “Fire officials traced the fire’s origin to the floor of the vehicle underneath the rear seats—the exact location of the Bolt’s battery pack.”

The complaint alleges that GM pushed too hard to get additional range out of the batteries, in spite of warnings. Battery capacity—the distance an electric car can travel without charging—is one of the most important considerations in electric vehicles. GM claimed that the Bolt could travel 238 miles without recharging.

The battery is a lithium ion battery, which has a reputation for high specific energy, high power, and long life. But they have also been linked to fires.

The complaint claims that “thermal management strategies must be integrated into the battery system design to monitor charging and discharging events…” It says that the GM batteries are “defective and unsafe in that they are inadequate to prevent thermal runaway and spontaneous ignition…”

In November 2020, GM announced it would recall some 50,000 vehicles. However, the recall will not replace the batteries but rather “install an interim software fix” that will have the effect of limiting the battery’s range to around 214 miles on a charge.

Owners and lessees are warned to use the vehicles in either “Hilltop Reserve” or “Target Charge Level” modes, which also limit battery performance. The complaint says, “GM recommends that if vehicle owners are unable to make these changes to limit the charging level of their vehicles, they should not park their car in their garage or carport until after they have visited their dealer.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Automobile

Most Recent Case Event

Chevy Bolt Battery Range and Spontaneous Fires Complaint

November 29, 2020

Imagine that you are lying in your bedroom and you hear a whooshing sound below. When you go to investigate, you find that your car, sitting quietly in the garage, has burst into flames. This class action brings suit against General Motors, LLC for a battery defect in its 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt. The complaint alleges that GM made false claims about the car’s travel range and also that the defect makes the vehicle “susceptible to spontaneously igniting when fully or nearly charged…”

Chevy Bolt Battery Range and Spontaneous Fires Complaint

Case Event History

Chevy Bolt Battery Range and Spontaneous Fires Complaint

November 29, 2020

Imagine that you are lying in your bedroom and you hear a whooshing sound below. When you go to investigate, you find that your car, sitting quietly in the garage, has burst into flames. This class action brings suit against General Motors, LLC for a battery defect in its 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt. The complaint alleges that GM made false claims about the car’s travel range and also that the defect makes the vehicle “susceptible to spontaneously igniting when fully or nearly charged…”

Chevy Bolt Battery Range and Spontaneous Fires Complaint
Tags: Battery, Defective Automobile, Fire, Inaccurate or Decreased Range