Battery cell malfunctions can cause the vehicle to unexpectedly lose power despite showing available range on the dashboard.Some early production Chevrolet Bolt EVs are apparently experiencing battery failures.PluginCars' Brad Berman experienced the issue first hand when his leased 2017 Bolt lost power and came to a stop in the middle of the road despite showing around 100 miles of range on the dashboard display.
GM has confirmed that "fewer than a couple hundred customers" are affected by the issue, which is said to be related to one or more faulty cells in the battery module.
"We noticed an anomaly via data from OnStar and that led us to investigate the issue," said GM communications manager Kevin Kelly.
Concerningly, Berman said the failure was not like a typical "turtle mode" experienced when an EV approaches the end of its range. Most cars do not allow the battery to be fully depleted, which can accelerate degradation. Instead, cars will provide a few miles of low-power output so the driver can maneuver to a safe location before the cell protection system completely cuts drive power.
"Instead, in the Bolt, I was left behind the wheel of a disabled vehicle (in the middle of a curvy road where vehicles often zip around so-called blind corners)," he said.
The report did not say if GM or battery supplier LG Chem plan to issue a formal recall for the problem.