BYD is converting over to lithium iron phosphate, which is much better behaved when damaged. Toyota is working on solid state batteries, which hopefully don't catch fire.
The NYFD reports over 55 electric bike and scooter fires so far this year. Two deaths, 60 injuries, including 18 firefighters. Fires destroying electric bike shops are a thing, with one fire expanding to all the batteries around. All we need now is for a cascade auto battery fire in a parking lot. Or, worst case, a garage under a building.
Boosted skateboards used to use lithium iron phosphate, but were just too expensive.
As a firefighter let me add some context: Electric car fires are no big deal anymore.
Yes, they're not "out" when there's no more flames or smoke for the moment as the damaged cells might be reacting further and further.
Easy solution: Put them in a tub full of water for at least 24 hours, better monitor the temperatures of the water and only lift them out once it has not changed for a few hours.
Most fire departments nowadays have some kind of container that can be filled where you can lift the car into. If not, they'll call somebody who has such a container, like landfills and alike.
Yes, the car is done after that, but it wouldn't be different with a gas-powered car either.
This might have been new five years ago, but so were solar panels 20 years ago and everybody was worried that nobody could ever extinguish a fire under solar panels.
Real life has shown, that you just rip the panels of the roof (if they're not already burned when we arrive) and work as if nothing has happened (simplified, but not too far away). With eletric cars you sink them. Easy as that. "Improvise. Adapt. Overcome." it is.
Also: garage fires are special in itself due to the lack of head room and "place to go" for heat, smoke and fire. It's not really a big difference after that. Basic rules of engagement are to be followed: Get the fire out and then the cars out of the garage. WIth electric cars you'll have to sink them once they are out of the garage, obviously.
Please stop fearmongering with "electric car fires".
> Easy solution: Put them in a tub full of water for at least 24 hours
How is this not a big deal? This forces firefighters, which sometimes are small departments without a lot of resources, to transport the cars. It's a nuissance if it's 1 car, but a parking lot caching fire would be an absolute nightmare.
If a car catches fire in a narrow street in the middle of a city, and it jumps to just a few more cars, you may have a massive issue.
It's great that you guys have adapted to this, and I'm sure we will learn how to make battery powered cars safer. This is the early-ish stages of a new technology, which are always rocky times... but it is still a big deal which shows how early it still is, which would be fine if we didn't need to stop using gas ASAP.
PD: I tried not to sound snarky but I may have failed. I intended no snark. I'm actually asking, how can this not be a big deal? Because it sounds like a big deal to me.
First of all sorry for my English, I sometimes fail to find the right words, so it's sometimes hard to explain what I mean.
It's not a big deal in the sense that you'll call the control/dispatch center and tell them that you'll need a tub for an EV. They'll then take care of getting it to you and that's what firefighters worry about.
How the car leaves the place? None of the firefighters' business, at least here in Germany.
Of course there are lots of things in the aftermath like how to recycle the water from that tub as it might be contaminated and needs special treatment, but that's a problem for someone else and possibly already solved somehow.
> but a parking lot caching fire
Yeah, that would be shit, but it could also happen today with gas-powered cars. I've experienced something similar myself once with a used car sales lot. It was somewhat frightening as the fire spread to multiple cars very fast because of the large amounts of heat.
In the end we concentrated on cooling the unburnt cars at first, and only as a second measure slowly fighting and extinguishing the ones that already caught fire when reinforcements (lots of!) had arrived.
Would you handle it differently with EVs? Yes, probably, you'd also need lots of tubs.
Would it be completely differently? No. Cars are, once burning, very nasty to extinguish, no matter how they are powered.
I wouldn't fear an EV more than a gas-powered car if I would get called right now.
In the US, such a process would (in my naive understanding)cripple my small-mid sized coastal towns FD, and throw the town leadership into a headspin for 20 years until the next solution is paid for by the next group of decision makers.
> "Improvise. Adapt. Overcome." it is.
And here is the problem: most fire departments are horribly underfunded, meaning their machines are old, water tankers don't have enough capacity, water lines are un(der)maintained and the firefighter training has been ... spotty to put it lightly.
> They do require a lot more water to be put out though.
As OP was mentioning garage fires, I was expecting urban neighborhoods, where getting enough water should (hopefully) not be a problem in 2021.
German here as well. For the Berufsfeuerwehr (for the Americans here: professional, full-time firefighters in big cities) yes, for Freiwillige Feuerwehr (volunteers, mostly in rural areas) not, which has been the subject of numerous media articles (e.g. https://kommunal.de/feuerwehr-fehlen-einsatzkraefte).
> As OP was mentioning garage fires, I was expecting urban neighborhoods, where getting enough water should (hopefully) not be a problem in 2021.
I was talking about electric car fires in general... and in rural areas, that is a problem (see e.g. https://www.nordkurier.de/uckermark/kontaminiertes-wasser-be...).
Anyway I'm not interested in fearmongering, just pointing out that even in Germany the situation isn't as decent as one might hope - and the US is even worse off.
When solar panels were new, firefighters were afraid, that classic methods will no longer work and that lots of houses would burn down, because the solar panels would be a solid, impenetrable "shield" against the water from the outside.
Turns out that solar panels will melt due to the heat before the firefighters arrive (for large fires where you have to extinguish from the outside), have killswitches, can be ripped from the roof when using a ladder and a wooden pole with a hook at the end... In the end it was just fear of this new and rather unknown technology.
Also tactics have evolved. Your main path to the fire will be from the inside, especially for normal housing fires, as you want to get as close als possible to the fire so you'll have to use as little water as possible. This lead to a steep decline in the use of "attacks from the outside".
Those will only be necessary for very large fires. In that case the panels are often gone, as already mentioned, or the house is a total loss, so destroying the panels forcefully is not that bad if you really need to do it.
Tesla Solar roofs will probably behave like any other panel/tile and can be penetrated with the right equipment or will break down by themselves as a result of excessive amounts of heat. I don't see big problems here.
Might take its time till they are done, but they did not tell me to park near a river or something, in case the car catches fire. So either GM is even more cautious or just stupid.
see here for the difference between resources and reserves,
We are currently extracting 2.5 MT of nickel a year, from reserves of 94 MT. Resources are estimated at 300 MT, which is definitely a lower end, as prospecting tends to concentrate profitable ores. If the price of nickel went up, we'd see more resources becoming reserves and more discovery of new resources.
Asking for interoperable batteries between vehicle brands is like asking for interoperable engines between vehicle brands, it's ridiculous. The government should not be saying "hey, that $xx,xxxx item with a million constrains and optimizable variables, why don't you make it meet this arbitrary standard so people could theoretically put it in another chassis that wasn't designed to let you optimize it as well as possible".
But it seems like there could be a hot-swappable portion of the battery, kind of like a separate "reserve tank" (although it wouldn't actually be reserved).
Some back of the envelope math says that if 1200 lb battery gets you 250 miles, a 200 lb hot-swap battery would get you 40 miles. Possibly enough to get to your next destination.
According to one report, for a Tesla Model 3, a supercharger can add ~100 miles of range in ~10 minutes. It's hard to see how any improvement over that could possibly justify the immense additional complexity of physical battery swapping for only 40 additional miles of range.
That said, it's probably a UX problem. Once EVs stop competing on range so much, it'll make sense to just designate the last 10% of battery as "reserve" and not count it in the battery level indicator.
Arguably it should be far easier to get those economic incentives aligned as chargers are far simpler mechanically (they are just plug sockets with weird over-engineered male adapters) and most of what breaks on them is either vandalism or a small subset of existing problems of gas pumps: credit card reader malfunctions, display/screen problems, internet connectivity issues for account management/credit card transactions. (All the human UX points of contact.)
> Once EVs stop competing on range so much, it'll make sense to just designate the last 10% of battery as "reserve" and not count it in the battery level indicator.
Most already do (even while still competing for range) because it's a battery maintenance requirement. Li-Ion cells generally don't like being 100% full, especially not for long periods of time, and sometimes have a preferred "directionality" (ie, a cell should only be charging until it hits 100% and then you can draw from it and vice versa once you start drawing from the cell you should keep doing so until it hits 0%) so battery controllers already have to do a bunch of math to keep a "reserve" so that they don't violate "directionality" (you always want cells in the "charging" direction available even while driving for regenerative braking storage, for instance) and don't generally hit 100% charge for long rest periods, but instead 95% or so.
> it'll make sense to just designate the last 10% of battery as "reserve" and not count it in the battery level indicator.
Very questionable? Why would you do that?
We don't do that for gas cars either.
I once, embarrassingly, found myself on the highway with an empty tank of gas and 20 miles to the next gas station. I watched the estimated miles remaining indicator tick down mile after mile, ticking precisely my passage. At 3 miles estimated remaining, I pulled over because there was a very wide safe shoulder, and I didn't want to putter out in a less-safe spot.
I don't want to try the experiment of letting it tick down to zero and seeing if I still have 10 miles or so left.
I think the use cases for field-swapping a (part of the) battery pack are the same as for carrying extra fuel canisters with you, which I can only speculate about, because I've never been in such situation with an ICE car.
Engines are interoperable to a large degree; you can switch out the engine+ecu of your car for the engine+ecu of another car more easily than you'd think because the majority of the effort will be in changes requiring an adapter plate and shaft for the transmission.
There are hurdles that make it harder (for example, auto transmissions have software that expects a particular set of engine characteristics), but by and large most engines are isolated enough from the rest of the car and the drivetrain that you don't need to worry.
Then the real truth that no one wants to hear, is that there is no need for so many different types of passenger vehicles.
> Then the real truth that no one wants to hear, is that there is no need for so many different types of passenger vehicles.
Good that we have you to tell us what vehicles people should drive.
No, it is like asking batteries for radios follow the norm (so that they can be swapped), or petrol to be the same for all cars, with the same pouring mechanism (a round hole), or USB connectors to be the same between devices.
You want a Li-Ion pack? This BMS and this shielding are required. You want Lead batteries? This BMS needs to charge it. Do you want that new battery tech? You need the new BMS for it and an OS driver for the BMS.
Plug it in and it's done.
I for one would love to be able to take my battery out, swap it, have a few so some are always on solar charge. Be able to take one onto the boat. Use a new one for higher performance special occasion driving, and an old one for bumper to bumper slow commute which I can wrong every last mile out of. Have a few which default to home backup and can support the grid.
The highly optimised around the battery argument is very good. But it doesn't mean that we can't also have a company focusing on interchangeable batteries with a third party market.
Let the buyer decide. Neither solution will get 100% of the market, or zero. Why write one off right now with confidence when both could have a healthy market for the hugely diverse users (ie not just SV nerds)
The fed enforcing interop wouldn't be black and white. Just like Mercedes are allowed to sell super low MPG AMG Sports cars because they also sell lots of small city cars. The fed could encourage things in this direction without being black and white and mandating 100% of batteries be replaceable.
I think the downvotes of the parent comment here aren't what downvotes should be for. He or she brings up a very interesting point
And Nio does in China.
But a 93 second full battery replacement for the Model S:
In practice this would probably mean something like: a vehicle hoist, a suitable lifter, a couple of sockets and a racket handle, and a screwdriver or two.
Not to mention, when the battery reaches the end of its normal life cycle. Just goes straight into the recycling pipeline.
You can rent the batteries and upgrade and downgrade the capacity as you like. It also makes it easy to replace the battery in the future if you buy it outright.
They offer 70 and 100 kWh packs now. They're aiming for 150 kWh packs next year:
Annecdotally, my recollection from other articles is that electric cars do in fact catch on fire less often. But it also seems like they may be more difficult to deal with. This may change as EV's become more mainstream & fire departments adapt: Graphite may be effective in putting out these fires, and maybe it will become a common tool in fire departments.
For the time being, rare or not, they post a much larger problem to deal with when they do occur.
You know when you saw that old Chrysler Grand Caravan burning on the side of the road, and you hear the story that the person has been holding it together solely with thoughts and prayers and maybe $500 between tires and oil for the last 7 years of its 19 year life?
That's the current inevitability. I'm not worried about someone's 6-month old Bolt or 2-year old Model 3. The issue is when we're eventually talking about a 22-year old Model 3 that's had 13 years of deferred maintenance, is totally clapped out, and is only on the road because someone paid some mechanic off to look the other way during a state vehicle inspection for the past 5 years.
Germany is starting to standardize on towing an electric car away to dunk it in a tank to ultimately handle fires.
Making mechanics liable - maybe jointly as a business and an individual - for their failure to inspect vehicles properly would be a pretty simple mechanic to reduce this risk.
I'll take the inspections.
Battery fires are more frequently spontaneous, or occur during charging.
How many barbequed children do you find an acceptable number?
I think trying to use inspections to solve that is a case of barking up a really stupid tree. In the case of EV charging fires there's not really much a mechanic can inspect that some electronics cobbled onto the pack couldn't. In the case of battery pack damage an annual inspection isn't going to do much good since most of those cases will cause problems before that or not at all.
Article list 9 cases. None involved accidents. Several were during charging, one during transport (on a flatbed truck).
All are of
Of that, I’d say half of the initial failures are simple things that don’t require a mechanic, (dead bulbs, bad/low tires) and the rest require a me hanic to do something.
You implement mild inspection laws and they do nothing because people can just pay the fine or whatever.
You implement invasive inspections where people are rich and they do nothing because rich people already don't drive on bald tires and whatnot.
You implement invasive inspections where people are poor and you create incentives to circumvent the law and hardship among those who don't ignore the law.
Mechanical failure is a negligible cause of accidents and injury so applying lots of effort co chase something that's only a source of the minority of problems is kind of a fools errand to throw a ton of societal resources at it.
If inspections really make the roads safer it would be an insurance thing and you'd see differences in premiums that reflect differences in law, insurers setting up their own programs where none exist and lobbying states for inspection programs. You basically never even hear a peep out of them about safety inspections unless it's in the context of getting people to upgrade to a newer car with better safety tech. Contrast with intoxication, distraction and driver training which are issues that insurers and their lobbyists constantly weigh in on.
I suppose if the problem is widespread enough, every city will have a mobile dunk truck at the ready for electric vehicle fires.
As it is, I've lately been wondering about what happens to 14 year-old electric cars with dead batteries that cost more than the car is worth.
Cool stuff! And thanks for repurposing the motors.
Also, needing to plan for larger vehicles like a pickup truck would mean > 4,000 lbs of water to submerge one, base an approximate dimensions of such trucks & the corresponding volume of water.
Than again with batteries generally in the bottom of the car, maybe you'd only need to submerge a few feet?
I can definitely see the need for new emergency response equipment in the EV future.
Seems like something similar in design to this would do the trick, maybe with sufficiently thick steel plating on the side:
Except that the 22 year Model 3 also has a computer inside the battery that should be keeping things in check. Assuming the battery can even hold any charge at that age.
"Nevertheless, existing test results have revealed that the heat release rate of EV fire is comparable to that of the fossil-fuelled vehicle fire, while EV fire may release more toxic gasses like HF from burning Li-ion batteries."
It seems to me that being harder to put off but occurring less frequently, and most importantly not exploding (leaving significant amount of time for occupants to get out, if they are able) is a pretty good trade off.
Take a gas can with a soaked rag & trail of gasoline leading to it & set it on fire and you'll have quite a fire on your hands, but no explosion. Now, add a tiny bit a black powder to the equation to disperse the flaming gasoline into the air and you've got a small fuel-air bomb on your hands. But that-- or similarly explosive circumstances-- just don't happen with cars much at all. Pop culture, where a few guns shots result in an explosion, gives the wrong impression here.
I couldn't find a clip of it, but here's the Mythbusters Wiki page for the episode: https://mythbusters.fandom.com/wiki/Car_Capers
I don't know the answer to these questions. They could all be "no". But before judging the trade off those are important factors to understand.
Thing went from 0 to 110 real quick.
There's probably a case to make that there should be an effort to provide better, similar software warnings for parked/"off" vehicles to signal emergency services with that extra lead time.
I searched but wasn't able to find a video of this. Any reference?
It's very rare to get a gas tank to explode (as others have pointed out). You need to have very little fuel (or better, none at all) in the tank before a spark will cause explosions.
Take a 2l plastic soda bottle, fill it 90% full with petrol and (with tongs from a distance) drop in a lit cigarette. I've tried to get the bottle to go bang multiple times and it never happens - the ciggarette is extinguished every single time.
Then empty that bottle until there is less than 5ml of petrol in it, close the bottle and shake it up to get a rich mixture, and then repeat the experiment (I've gotten fairly big bangs every single time, this way).
The TLDR of it all is that there is danger of explosion when the tank is emptied, not when it is full, because the fumes cause explosions, not the liquid state of the fuel (which just catches fire).
I'm hesitant to answer in case some tries this and gets hurt.
I used a flexible claw (one like this: https://www.amazon.com/Flexible-Claw-Automotive-Mechanic-Gen...) inserted into a standard copper pipe (used for taps and other plumbing) to stiffen the spring and held it at arms length.
So, about 2m was safe for me. I also suggest wearing protection for your ears as these are really loud bangs, and protection for your eyes as well (it is an explosion, after all).
My sister had her Chrysler LeBarron go up in flames in her parking garage.
Happens more often than you think
Well I’d really prefer it not catch on fire at all but you get the idea…
Even more interestingly, the car could communicate with your smoke detectors to set off the fire alarm. It would be a great value proposition for something like Nest. It can let you know that there's going to be a fire before it even starts.
I would hope that honking the horn in case of fire is something we could achieve with a software update, but maybe not.
The pipe dream would be for the car to be able to get itself somewhere safe-ish in bad conditions. We're probably a good ways off from it, and safer batteries may take over first, but worst case scenario we may be able to program some kind of "escape path" into the cars. My car has the ability to save garage door opener codes. It's not too far fetched to be able to tell it to roll up the garage door and pull out into the driveway in case of potential fire situations. You might need an automatic ejector for the charger cable, but that doesn't seem insurmountable either.
I do agree that electric cars are more dangerous for now, and will continue to be even after the updates. We can narrow that gap with software, and even more with some integrated hardware.
It's not all doom and gloom for EVs, though.
Houses are replaceable, that's why people have insurance.
56 vehicle fires / billion miles driven.
15 vehicle fire deaths / hundred billion miles driven.
Gasoline cars also have complicated parts to help mitigate their fire risk.
"BMW is adding nearly 185,000 vehicles to a 2017 recall for possible engine fires.
Two years ago the company recommended that the vehicles be parked outdoors until problems are fixed."
Now you have heard.
I'm not saying EV fires are a bigger issue than gasoline cars. I'm saying that you cannot look merely at incident rate to determine the issue.
Which makes me wonder, how would an EV handle the same poor driving conditions?
It's not obvious to me how you could cause an ev to fail catastrophically like that, because they do have sensors to detect overheating in the battery. I guess in theory you could also do something like catch the tires on fire from too much friction...
But also, car fires happen all the time. They're just normal and so don't get to the news. My grandfather died in a gasoline fire (which can happen a lot faster).
Have they? So why did a Tesla Model S Plaid (a new car) catch fire while being driven just a few months ago?
If there's a claim that Tesla has "solved the fire problem", I would hope there's a good explanation for why fires still happen with the newest model delivered 3 months ago.
The downside of LFP is lower energy density which means an LFP Model 3 has a slightly reduced range compared to the Lithium Ion version.
The upside is the LFP likes to be charged to 100% where as Lithium Ion prefers 90% charges.
You're full of sodium, though, and you don't explode.
> Sodium batteries are also more stable and safe than lithium-ion. They have a wider temperature range, are nonflammable, and there is no thermal runaway—which can cause lithium-ion batteries to catch fire—under any condition, says Pouchet.
Has CATL substantially improved the energy density? Half the capacity on a per-weight basis than Lithium-ion seems pretty bad for EVs. Halving the range of already barely-acceptable vehicles seems pretty bad. Maybe it’s fine for short-range EVs and hybrids, but the range is one of the selling points of the Bolt.
Tesla have sold well over 1.5 million cars at this point
No method of packing enough energy in a car for hundreds of miles of range is going to be perfectly safe. Stored energy is stored energy and any material with that much really wants to party.
It does seem that the Bolt has an issue. I’m glad I opted for the 62kWh Leaf for an affordable EV and so far I think there has only ever been one Leaf fire. It happened years ago and they have been on the market about the longest. The Bolt has slightly more range but I looked at both and liked the Leaf more. This was before I heard about fires.
I'm curious how you determined this? Everything I've seen suggests the Bolt is better in most ways, and overall. Excluding the current minor risk of fire, of course.
Tesla's approach here would be to issue an OTA update that told your car to treat 90% as 100% and 25% as 0. I can't decide if I like that better or worse.
I hope the Chevy bolt is a rare case and stories like this don't pop up with the other upcoming electric vehicles. The new lightning F150 looks very attractive.
99,356 in USA & Canada, per this number: https://www.goodcarbadcar.net/chevrolet-bolt-sales-figures-u...
I was curious about this so I looked it up, you might think it is interesting too.
you will be happy to know Ford is using SK batteries after switching away from LG. SK just recently settled for $2billions a case that revealed they stole LG battery technology. Bolt uses LG batteries.
LG had a chain of costly recalls and replacements for all of their clients
"LG Energy Solutions, the company that makes the battery for the Bolt and Kona EV, has not had a good year. First, they agreed to replace the 82,000 batteries sold to Hyundai for the Kona EV, Ioniq, and Elec City buses. Although the initial rumors were from a faulty battery separator, Hyundai later said that the problem was badly folded tabs. GM emphatically pointed out that they use a different separator, and a different factory. Thus neither of those problems should apply to the Bolt fires.
Porsche recently initiated a recall on a loss of power in its Taycan LG batteries, and Ford also moved from LG in its Mustang Mach-E to SK in its Ford F-150 Lightning."
But the fault of both GM and LG is that they weren't able to detect the problem sooner.
I guess I'm just not seeing fault at GM here. Trying to get there though.
Neither company is actually making their own batteries, in any case.
Obviously the batteries still degrade, but they should be usable long past 3 years assuming regular driving habits.
Cars are good for 20 years still going roughly as far on a tank as they did. I’ll believe 10% loss of mpg over a lifetime, I don’t track that closely, but 10-20% range loss on a tank per year, nahhh.
Early in the life of the battery this leads to slowed degredation and as the battery agrees the software uses more and more of the raw capacity to make it appear like the capacity is being lost much slower than it is… then at some point capacity will fall off a cliff when the excess is depleted.
Comparable to how SSDs have capacity reserved for bad blocks.
It is probably good engineering but it would be nice for the mechanics to be sold truthfully and some level of control to be given to the owner.
Please don't discard a phone merely because of a bad battery, unless you've tried to get a replacement!
It's a really good question. Let's think about it.
As you've outlined it, Tesla's approach prioritizes the user's confidence in the product, rather than the user's knowledge about the product.
Naturally, when a product is faulty, the user's confidence in the product is inversely proportional to their knowledge about the fault; the less I know about the fault, the more unshaken is my confidence in the product.
So I guess it comes down to this: when a product fails, would you prefer to react with "wow, how unexpected" or "figures"?
They still throttle now after the lawsuit, you can just stop it if you want to. Also an important difference with Apple is that the iPhone throttling wasn’t a safety concern.
This is all sound and well and well-known, which is why you design in a safety factor so that you have plenty of margin even at end of life.
Why didn't they? Since no internal Apple discussions surface, I can just speculate it's either,
* incompetence, they didn't anticipate this
* cost-driven decision, despite Apple products being top-dollar devices and even low-range devices work better in this aspect
* design-driven decision, larger battery would mean a larger device
I think they just got a bad batch of batteries or were too aggressive cost optimizing and this was the fix. 5&6 era iPhones never had this problem and their batteries degraded just the same.
Just missing out on such a basic thing is a bit boggling to me. My iphone 4 was working pretty good though, but I was also mostly in the inner city where connectivity is good to begin with.
Apple didn't tell anyone and a slower device is harder to quantify in normal use than not being able to drive the same distance between charges.
The EV equivalent would be reducing acceleration slowly over the lifetime of the vehicle with the helpful (to the company) side-effect that new models seem a lot more responsive.
More like Tesla prioritizes removing user error
I would vote for Tesla's approach, followed by a partial refund for loss of advertised functionality (or a class action)
Car sends status update that charge has hit >=90%: stop charge command issued server side. Last I checked, the car sends a vehicle status update every percentage tick on charging so this wouldn’t be perfect but it’d be better than nothing.
I'd much rather have the OTA option.
Have you even read up on the manufacturing faults behind this? It's a cell manufacturing robot alignment problem that went unnoticed, not a deep cycling problem.
If I had one then I would have nowhere to park it. Certainly not at work. And at home with once car in the driveway and another in front of the house they couldn't be 50 feet apart. In tightly packed houses even one driveway to the next isn't 50 feet apart.
If you went shopping and we're lucky enough to manage to find a space 50 feet away, there's no guarantee someone wouldn't park closer, though I can't even think of a place I go where finding such a spot in the first place is at all likely.
> The Bolt normally can go 259 miles on a charge, but that has been limited by GM’s guidance to avoid a fire. The automaker told Bolt owners to limit the charge to 90 percent, plug in more frequently and avoid depleting the battery to below about 70 miles of remaining range. They’re also advised to park their vehicles outside immediately after charging and not leave them charging indoors overnight.
So instead of 259 miles of charge, it's about 163 miles of charge. Oh, and don't leave your car in your own garage after charging.
Tough pill to swallow, I'm a Volt owner and I love that car, but couldn't blame anyone for them being soured on GM after that.
The farthest we could park is on the street evenly spaced between our driveway and our neighbor's driveway. This will end up being about 20 feet from the entries to our respective driveways and 35 feet diagonal from our respective garages. And I don't live in a dense area at all.
My biggest concern in all of this has been that there is a large pine tree in our front yard and there is literally no place in the driveway or street that isn't at least partially under the canopy of this tree. If the car catches fire, so will the tree, with pretty good odds of falling on the house.
We love the car, and don't really want to go through the hassle of shopping and buying another car to replace it right now. So it is really tempting to look at 10 fires out of 140,000 cars and say those are reasonable odds, but I don't know if that's the smart thing to do.
Anecdote: I found out my Ford had one of the Takata airbag inflators that was prone to producing shrapnel. Ford had yet to recall my car but they were offering optional replacements. I called my dealer to schedule one and they said ‘you can get in 6 mos from now when we get the part, very backorded, in the mean time don’t worry it is safe’. A month later they issued a formal recall. I received letter after letter telling me to schedule a replacement immediately. They even left me voicemails about how I might die by bleeding out (very graphic). Sold the car to the dealer shortly thereafter.
It could also be argued expecting to park 50m from others makes the product unusable ?
These cars just became a lot less useful.
edit: no, I'm confused. From another article:
> The Detroit automaker has recalled all of the roughly 142,000 Bolts sold since 2016 because the battery can catch on fire. GM has taken a $1.8 billion charge so far for the cost of the recall and has been buying cars back from some disgruntled owners.
> GM has said that when it is confident that LG Chem can produce defect-free battery modules, GM will notify Bolt owners in writing and repairs will begin. Once a repair is made, GM will provide an eight-year/100,000 mile warranty on it. In the meantime, GM has assured Bolt owners that if they follow three steps, the cars should be safe
So they're not ready to repair them yet, but it's unclear whether everyone has the option of a buyback or not. If not, I don't understand how they can be said to have 'recalled' all the cars.
That only works if your driveway is >=100ft long.
I'd be pushing for a buyback at this point.
Whether I will try and return the car ... I dunno. The risk is still on the low side, and it's such an inexpensive little car to drive. Drive's pretty nice, too. I don't know what I'd replace it with that wouldn't be much more expensive to both purchase and operate.
We almost got a Bolt, but my wife always wanted a Mini and since we were replacing her car, she got to choose. In retrospect, she chose wisely.
This may have been in the playbook typically, but most car lots are really sparse. All of Q2 production was 688,236 vehicles , and there are about 107,000 Bolts in the US . While current Bolt owners are undoubtedly frustrated, GM would really hamper efforts to expand market share.
I could probably rent a spot from some rural farmer, but it's going to be a hard sell "Hey, I have a car that could burst into flames at any time, is it ok if I park it in your dry grassy field?"
Edit: or get a rubber car to counteract