The saga of the recalled Chevy Bolts continues as General Motors (GM) takes another step towards resolving the battery issue. GM is now offering owners of 2020-2022 Bolt models an early payment of $1,400 as part of an anticipated class action settlement. In exchange for this compensation, owners must install a diagnostics software that will determine whether their batteries need to be replaced. Let’s explore the details and implications of this latest development.
1. GM’s Diagnostic Software: A Solution to Battery Replacement
GM’s latest solution involves replacing the faulty batteries in Chevy Bolts with a diagnostics software. The software is designed to detect any battery issues and assess the need for a full battery replacement. However, the effectiveness of this software can only be determined after a diagnostics period spanning 6,214 miles or 10,000 km.
2. Frustrations of Bolt Owners: Promised Batteries and Restricted Charging
The decision to replace batteries for older Bolt models created discontent among owners of 2020-2022 models. Many customers were promised new batteries but ended up receiving the software diagnostics instead. Moreover, these owners faced the inconvenience of restricted charging to 80% of battery capacity. This restriction raised concerns about the amount of time required to complete the diagnostic period, which could be a matter of months or even years for low-mileage drivers.
3. Conflict Over Timing: Diagnostic Period and Extended Warranty
Another point of contention arose with GM’s prescribed timeline for completing the diagnostics period. GM stipulated that owners must conclude the diagnostics by March 31, 2025, in order to qualify for an extended warranty on replaced battery packs. This timeline created a conflict for low-mileage drivers who might struggle to achieve the required mileage within the given timeframe.
4. GM’s Incentive to Install “Software Final Remedy”: Early Compensation Offer
To entice Bolt owners to install the diagnostics software promptly, GM is offering early payment of the anticipated $1,400 class action settlement. This compensation will be given in the form of a Visa eRewards card that can be used for online purchases. However, owners must install the “software final remedy” and sign a legal release associated with receiving the payment before December 31, 2023, to qualify for this early compensation offer.
5. Class Action Considerations: Waiting Versus Accepting Early Payment
Owners participating in recall N212345944 have the opportunity to receive the early compensation. If owners choose not to accept the early payment, they will have to wait until the class action settlement is finalized. In the event that the class action settlement amount exceeds $1,400, the difference will still be paid out to owners who opt for the early compensation offer.
6. Lingering Issues: Failed Fixes and Battery Fires
The Chevy Bolt battery problem has been ongoing, with prior attempts at solutions proving unsuccessful. Older Chevy Bolt models from 2017 to 2019 received “fixes” in 2021 to prevent fires, but these measures were ineffective. In 2020, a different battery issue emerged, leading to at least 19 Bolts catching fire with fully charged batteries.
GM’s offer of early compensation for installing the diagnostics software is an attempt to address the concerns of Chevy Bolt owners affected by the battery issue. While this offer may provide relief for some owners, questions remain about the reliability and effectiveness of the software diagnostics. As the class action settlement progresses, it is crucial for GM to fulfill its commitment to providing a safe and reliable solution for all affected Bolt owners and restore their trust in the brand.