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GM Adds Downtime In Michigan To Fix Battery Issues

Auto giant General Motors (GM) has decided to keep manufacturing sidelined of its flagship electric vehicle Bolt and prioritize the building of battery modules that are used for the car.

To date, at least 13 Chevy Bolts have caught fire resulting in the company having to roll back all units to inspect and improve the battery modules.

The Michigan plant of the company has been left idle since August 23 to fix the issue and the company announced on Wednesday that its Detroit plant is going to focus on building battery modules for the recalled vehicles for another two weeks, till November 1.

According to the experts from GM and LG, the simultaneous presence of two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell is the root cause of battery fires in certain Chevrolet Bolt EVs. The company plans to replace battery modules or the entire battery pack to fix the issue. In July, General Motors recalled nearly 70,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles for the second time because of a risk that the battery could catch fire.

"In rare circumstances, the batteries supplied to GM for these vehicles may have two manufacturing defects — a torn anode tab and folded separator — present in the same battery cell, which increases the risk of fire," the company specified in its report.

After the third recall in August, GM reportedly sought nearly $1 billion in damages from LG Chem, the auto giant's battery cell partner, to cover losses from the recall of its Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles. General Motors plans to replace all the defective battery modules with new ones in the Chevy Bolt EVs and EUVs. This amount totals to $1 billion in losses, in addition to the $800 million the company is already spending for the first Bolt recall in November 2020.

Earlier in October, LG Chem supplied battery modules for more than 140,000 Bolt Evs.

Apart from the battery issues, GM is also facing downtime on other plants due to the global semiconductor shortage. Last month, the company had said that its Arlington Assembly in Texas, where it makes its full-size SUVs, will run regular production next week, along with Flint Assembly, Bowling Green Assembly in Kentucky, and a portion of Lansing Grand River Assembly. But all other assembly plants in North America will sit idle for two weeks.

To add to the list, the company reported that its Ramos assembly plant in Mexico will not be able to start making Chevrolet Equinox till November 15. The facility had stopped producing its small SUV back is August 16 due to the chip shortage.

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