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GM Offers Reduced Range in Chevrolet Bolt to Avoid Fire Class Action

“[Three] spontaneous combustions in 4 hours…” This class action against General Motors, LLC (GM) uses quotes like this from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in its First Amended Complaint about GM’s all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. The complaint alleges that the vehicle spontaneously bursts into flames because of a defective battery and that GM’s only fix for current owners has been to limit it to less than a full charge, decreasing the car’s range.

The Nationwide Class for this action is all those who bought or leased 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt vehicles, for end use and not for resale. State subclasses have been proposed for Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, and New York.

The Bolt was introduced in 2016 as an all-electric plug-in car with a reasonable range of 238 miles. Electric cars have been limited by their range, which is the distance the vehicle can travel on a full charge. Ranges for electric cars have typically been much less than those for cars with a full tank of gas; and gas tanks can be refilled more quickly than electric cars can be recharged. The Bolts’ range was therefore an important point in GM’s marketing of the car.

The marketing was successful, and the Bolt won awards, becoming the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year, among other things. However the complaint says the vehicle has a serious defect: “Specifically, when the high voltage batteries of 2017-2019 model year Bolts are charged to full, or very close to full, they pose a risk of fire[.]”

GM proposed what was purportedly an “interim remedy” which was to stop the vehicle from fully charging. It offered a software update that limited the charge to roughly 90% of capacity. Many owners made appointments at dealerships and took their Bolts in to have this update installed, for the sake of safety. But this left the cars with a diminished range, significantly less than the 238 miles promised in the car’s marketing materials.

The complaint alleges, “Despite being aware of serious battery problems with the Bolt, GM failed to inform prospective Bolt owners and lessees that the vehicle is plagued with this dangerous Battery Defect.” GM, it says, didn’t reveal the battery problem until near the end of 2020.

The complaint alleges, “Prios to revealing the Battery Defect to Bolt owners and lessees in November 2020, GM had for years been encouraging consumers to charge their batteries to 100% as a regular practice, a practice that apparently would have led customers to face an increased risk of fire.”

According to the complaint GM has violated state consumers laws on fraud and deceptive practices and the Magnuson-Moss and Song-Beverly warranty acts. Additional counts include breaches of warranties, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Automobile

Most Recent Case Event

GM Offers Reduced Range in Chevrolet Bolt to Avoid Fire Complaint

April 20, 2021

“[Three] spontaneous combustions in 4 hours…” This class action against General Motors, LLC (GM) uses quotes like this from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in its First Amended Complaint about GM’s all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. The complaint alleges that the vehicle spontaneously bursts into flames because of a defective battery and that GM’s only fix for current owners has been to limit it to less than a full charge, decreasing the car’s range.

GM Offers Reduced Range in Chevrolet Bolt to Avoid Fire Complaint

Case Event History

GM Offers Reduced Range in Chevrolet Bolt to Avoid Fire Complaint

April 20, 2021

“[Three] spontaneous combustions in 4 hours…” This class action against General Motors, LLC (GM) uses quotes like this from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in its First Amended Complaint about GM’s all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. The complaint alleges that the vehicle spontaneously bursts into flames because of a defective battery and that GM’s only fix for current owners has been to limit it to less than a full charge, decreasing the car’s range.

GM Offers Reduced Range in Chevrolet Bolt to Avoid Fire Complaint
Tags: Battery, Defective Automobile, Fire