As the latest step in the saga of recalled Chevy Bolts, GM is offering owners of ’20-’22 Bolts early payment of $1,400 of an anticipated class action settlement in exchange for installing a piece of diagnostics software that the company says will detect whether batteries require a full replacement.
The Chevy Bolt recall process has been quite long and complicated. In short, some Chevy Bolts were found to have a battery defect from supplier LG, which forced GM to recall all Bolts, take the model out of production for several months, and eventually promise battery replacements to all affected owners.
In June, GM announced that it would stop replacing 2020-2022 Chevy Bolt Batteries and would instead verify the integrity of the battery with software over a period of 6,200 miles in which Bolt owners were only allowed to charge their batteries to 80% or ~207 of the original EPA’s 259-mile range.
A spokesperson in response at the time gave us the following statement:
GM will provide owners of certain 2020-2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUVs covered under a previously announced recall a new advanced diagnostics software. The software will continually monitor the battery to detect any potential anomalies and, if none are detected after approximately 6,200 miles (10,000 km) of use, the battery will automatically return to 100% state of charge without a return trip to the dealer.
If an anomaly is detected, the software will alert the owner via a message on the driver information center and the owner should then contact their dealer to schedule a battery or module replacement.
The software is free and will need to be installed by their dealer via a brief service appointment.
Owners of certain 2020-2022 model year Bolt EV and EUVs, can start to schedule installation at their Chevy EV dealer June 13, 2023.
GENERAL MOTORS, June 2023
GM replaced most batteries on ’17-’19 Bolts but then ended up offering software diagnostics instead of battery replacements to many ’20-’22 model year Bolts. GM says that the software will detect which batteries actually require a fix, but the software requires 6,214 miles/10,000 km worth of driving to detect these problems, during which time charging must be limited to 80%.
This left many customers aggrieved at being promised a new battery and not receiving it, and further, at needing to wait some number of months with restricted charging before receiving a solution. Or, in the case of low-mileage customers, that 6,214 miles might even take years – which brings up a conflict with GM’s insistence that the diagnostic period be finished by March 31, 2025, in order to qualify owners for an extended warranty for a replaced battery pack.
Now, GM is trying to sweeten the pot to get customers to install the “software final remedy” by offering early/upfront payment of an anticipated $1,400 class action settlement. The payment comes in the form of a Visa eRewards card that can be used for online purchases.
GM made the announcement last night via spokesperson:
GM is announcing a compensation program for 2020-22 Bolt EV/EUV owners upon installation of the final advanced diagnostic software as part of the original battery recall. Owners are eligible to receive a $1,400 Visa eReward card upon installation. This applies to Bolt EV/EUV owners in the US only. We’re grateful to our customers for their patience and understanding.
But you can only get this early payment if you install the “software final remedy” before December 31, 2023, and sign a legal release associated with taking the payment. If you don’t, you’ll have to wait for the class action to be sorted out. The compensation program only applies to owners involved in recall N212345944.
If the class action settlement ends up being more than $1,400, GM says that the difference will still be paid out to owners who take advantage of this early compensation offer.
Owners who are part of the recall can expect to get letters soon with information and a unique PIN to enter into GM’s compensation program website at chevy.com/boltcompensation. More details can be found on GM’s Bolt Compensation Program FAQ.
This whole recall situation has been quite disappointing, as it seems like GM has fumbled the ball several times. When GM originally proposed the software solution, our publisher, Seth Weintraub, who is a Bolt owner himself, suggested a few ways off the top of his head that GM could have done a better job:
•Told ’20-’22 owners about the change so they don’t have to hear about it on Facebook (or Electrek!)
•Explained the reason for the change: Something like, “Only 1% of battery modules could be defective and our software will root these out.”
•Offered to make the battery warranty the same time duration as getting a new battery with a “GM Verified” on battery so it doesn’t hurt the resale value.
•Give those with diagnostics free Onstar and lifetime premium app features for their trouble. Maybe some more EVGO miles, tire rotations, $500 off Equinox, etc. too?
•Thank them for their patience and tell/show them that they are valued.
That said, the recall also probably had a lot to do with the Bolt getting a $6,000 price cut and becoming a screaming deal that we also named Electrek’s Vehicle of the Year because of its incredible value.
Though the Bolt is currently slated to go out of production at the end of this year, but after GM pushed back its plans to convert its Orion plant to SIlverado EV production by a year, we think that GM should just keep making the Bolt until a Boltium is available.
As for this new offer, I’m not sure what to make of it. It does primarily seem like a way to get people to install the software update so that this whole thing can finally be over with, or at least, so the finish line can be within sight for GM and they can plan how many batteries they’ll need and when.
But after years of poor communication over this issue from GM, many customers may rightly be distrustful of GM’s proposed remedies. Some will probably be hesitant to take this deal, thinking that they are signing away some rights, or some capabilities of their vehicle for an extended period of time, for a one-time payout.
All we can do is tell customers to do their best to read through the FAQ and through the “Release of Specified Claims” (available by entering your PIN into the Compensation Program website) before signing anything.
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