General Motors is asking owners of 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EVs to take the vehicles to dealerships for a software update that will sooner detect a potential battery issue that could lead to a reduction or loss of acceleration.
The “customer satisfaction campaign” stems from a calibration that fails to detect the difference in the state of charge among cell groups in the battery.
Because of the problem, according a notice to customer obtained by Automotive News, the vehicle may not receive “sufficient warning prior to a battery cell low-voltage condition, which may result in a loss of propulsion.”
A GM spokeswoman said a “small percentage of vehicles may experience” the loss of power, but the company is issuing the advisory to all 2017 Bolt owners globally, including 23,297 cars in the U.S., to get the software update installed.
The software update does not resolve the underlying battery defect, however provides owners with an earlier warning that they may experience a reduction or loss of propulsion and to take the vehicle in for service, which could take a few hours. For OnStar customers, GM is monitoring their vehicles. If their battery shows signs of the problem, the company is contacting the owners to arrange for service and replace their battery pack for free.
Installation of the new calibration software is expected to take less than an hour. It will give customers more time to safely pull over. The repair will be done free until April 30, 2020. After that, any applicable warranty will apply.
GM became aware of the problem through OnStar’s monitoring of early production vehicles. Some anomalies, according to GM, led the company to bring those vehicles in for diagnostics and then identify the need for a customer satisfaction campaign.
GM recommends that customers take their vehicles in for service as soon as possible.
"Customer satisfaction campaigns address concerns that don’t constitute an unreasonable safety risk, as defined by NHTSA," the spokeswoman wrote in an email. "This doesn’t, however, mean it’s not serious or that customers can ignore it."