According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Bolt’s main problem areas are the electrical system/propulsion, service brakes and visibility
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Electrical System / Propulsion
Some owners complain the Bolt exhibits a sudden reduction in battery charge accompanied by a loss of propulsion. One moment, the car displays a full charge; the next second, the gauge reads zero and the vehicle dies.
On the NHTSA website, one owner writes, “Driving at 65 mph with 100+ mile range, car had sudden and complete lack of propulsion. Electronics in the car continued to work, but absolutely no propulsion. Could shift car to neutral. Car eventually towed to dealer.”
The Bolt uses a lithium-ion battery built from 288 individual cells that are divided into 12 modules. A group of computers – including one called hybrid powertrain control module 2 (HPCM 2) – monitor the battery.
Initially, GM blamed bad software inside HPCM 2 for the unexpected lack of propulsion.A customer satisfaction campaign (18097–03) instructs dealers to reprogram the module to fix the problem.
But reprogramming didn’t solvethe concern entirely. So, another campaign (17297-02) was published that calls for replacement of the battery pack.
The document reads, “Certain 2017–2018 model year Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles may have a condition in which the cells within the battery pack have low voltage. This condition is related to the state of charge of the cell group. Eventually, the difference in the state of charge of the cell groups (average vs. minimum) may exceed a threshold.”
According to the website Plugin Cars, just one faulty cell could result in a loss of propulsion.Although GM could service the cells individually, the manufacturer is playing it safe by replacing the entire battery pack.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Chevy Bolt Battery Problems:
THE BOLT STOPPED PROVIDING POWER WHEN I WAS DRIVING DOWN A 4 LANE FREEWAY. IT HAS ALREADY FAILED 3 TIMES IN THE PAST, THIS IS THE 4TH TIME.
DRIVING AT 65 MPH WITH 100+ MILE RANGE, CAR HAD A SUDDEN AND COMPLETE LACK OF PROPULSION. ELECTRONICS IN THE CAR CONTINUED TO WORK, BUT ABSOLUTELY NO PROPULSION. COULD SHIFT CAR TO NEUTRAL. CAR EVENTUALLY TOWED TO DEALER.
CAR SUDDENLY LOST POWER ON THE HIGHWAY. I HAD TO COAST TO A STOP. THE HIGH-VOLTAGE BATTERY WHICH HAD BEEN 3/4 FULL WENT DOWN TO ZERO. AFTER THE INCIDENT, THE CAR COULD NO LONGER BE DRIVE. I’D ALREADY HAD GM’S RECALL INSTALLED N172127150
DRIVING ON THE FREEWAY (60-70MPH) WITH THE BATTERY AT OR SLIGHTLY ABOVE 50%, AN ALERT SOUNDED, AND THE BATTERY LEVEL IMMEDIATELY WENT DOWN TO NEARLY ZERO. IT ESTIMATED 10 MILES LEFT, BUT SPEED IMMEDIATELY DECREASED, AND THE ACCELERATOR STOPPED WORKING. AFTER RAPIDLY COASTING OVER TO THE SHOULDER, AND WITHIN SECONDS, THE CAR MADE A SERIES OF LOUD NOISES AND COMPLETELY STOPPED.
Brakes are the most important part of any vehicle.Naturally, some Bolt owners decided to speak up when their car didn’t stop as it should.
“On a somewhat crowded freeway on ramp, started to accelerate when cars ahead stopped. Fully depressing the brake pedal did not apply maximum braking power. The car slowed but did not stop before colliding with the car in front, despite the fact there was plenty of room between us for the speed we were going,” complains one owner on the NHTSA website.
One possible cause for the concern may be the rear brake pistons, for which GM issued a recall (N1821679000).
The pistons, which are part of the brake caliper, push the brake pads against the rotor to bring the vehicle to a halt. According to GM, the Bolt has improperly manufactured pistons that may trap hydrogen gas in the brake lines, causing a spongy pedal. Increased stopping distance may result.
Dealers are instructed to bleed the brakes to expel any hydrogen gas. The procedure is expected to fix the concern.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Chevy Bolt Brake Problems:
TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2017 CHEVROLET BOLT. WHILE OPERATING THE VEHICLE, A LOUD HOWLING TYPE NOISE WAS PRESENT COMING FROM THE FRONT END OF THE VEHICLE. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO THE DEALER (BANKS CHEVROLET IN CONCORD, NH) WHO DISCOVERED THAT SMALL STONES HAD BECOME STUCK INTO THE BRAKING SYSTEM BETWEEN THE BACKING PLATE AND THE ROTOR. THE STONES WERE REMOVED AND THE FAILURE WAS REMEDIED, BUT THE FAILURE RECURRED ON THREE SEPARATE OCCASIONS ON BOTH THE FRONT DRIVER AND PASSENGER SIDE BRAKES. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURE. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 1,500.
ON A SOMEWHAT CROWDED FREEWAY ON RAMP, STARTED TO ACCELERATE WHEN CARS AHEAD STOPPED. FULLY DEPRESSING THE BRAKE PEDAL DID NOT APPLY MAXIMUM BRAKING POWER. THE CAR SLOWED BUT DID NOT STOP BEFORE COLLIDING WITH THE CAR IN FRONT, DESPITE THE FACT THAT THERE WAS PLENTY OF ROOM BETWEEN US FOR THE SPEED WE WERE GOING. LATER EXPERIMENTS SHOWED THAT APPLYING THE LEFT HAND BRAKE CONTROL TOGETHER WITH THE BRAKE PEDAL APPLIED SIGNIFICANTLY MORE BRAKING POWER AND WOULD HAVE STOPPED THE CAR WELL SHORT OF THE COLLISION. FULLY DEPRESSING THE BRAKE PEDAL SHOULD APPLY MAXIMUM BRAKING POWER, AND THE HAND BRAKE CONTROL SHOULD NOT BE NEEDED TO STOP THE CAR AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION. I CONSIDER THIS A SAFETY ISSUE, FOR ALL DRIVERS WHOSE INSTINCT IS TO PRESS FULLY ON THE PEDAL, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY FOR ANY DRIVER WHO CANNOT USE THE LEFT HAND BRAKE DUE TO A DISABILITY THAT OTHERWISE WOULD NOT IMPAIR THEIR ABILITY TO DRIVE.
3 TIMES IN THE FIRST1500 MILES SMALL STONES HAVE BECOME LODGED IN THE BREAKING, IN BOTH FRONT WHEELS AND NEVER I THE BACK WHEELS. THERE IS A DESIGN DEFECT THAT ALLOWS STONES TO ENTER BETWEEN THE BACKING PLATE AND THE ROTOR. THE BECOME STUCK (LODGED) THERE AND, IN ADDITION TO CREATING A LOUD SCREECHING NOISE, COULD IMPAIR BRAKING AND STEERING, CREATING A SAFETY HAZARD. ALL THIS HAPPENS WHEN THE CAR IS MOVING.
Inside, the Bolt is handsome,sporting features likea large touchscreen display and digital instrument cluster.The cabin also boasts an oversized dash which, although stylish, can lead to reduced visibility.
On the NHTSA website, one owner claims, “I have a gray interior trim package and the glare from the dashboard is extreme. There are times, like pulling into my own or public garages, when my visibility is reduced almost completely. On the open road the problem is also significant. To maintain good visibility I have resorted to wearing polarized sunglasses at all times during daylight driving.”
According to the website Inside EVs, the problem is more common on Premier trim level vehicles with Light Ash Gray or Ceramic White colored interiors. GM has yet to issue a remedy for the concern.
Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Chevy Bolt Visibility Issues:
DUE TO THE ANGLE OF THE WINDSHIELD, REFLECTION FROM THE LIGHT ASH GREY COLOR, CREATES A VERY VERY BRIGHT COLORED GLARE, WHICH REDUCES VISIBILITY IMMENSELY ON SUNNY DAYS. WITHOUT THE PROPER SUNGLASSES, IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO SEE PEDESTRIANS, OTHER CARS AND SIGNS. NOTE THE “SHADED” AND OR THE VENTS OF THE DASH AND HOW MUCH DARKER AND LESS REFLECTIVE THEY ARE IN THE ATTACHED PHOTO. ( IE, ABOVE THE TRANSPONDER WHERE IT IS SHADED) I UNDERSTAND THAT THE DARK COLOR DASH DOES NOT CREATE THIS DANGEROUS REFLECTION AND SOME OWNERS HAVE REPLACED THE DASH AT THEIR OWN COST. I BELIEVE THIS IS A SAFETY HAZARD AND THE LIGHT COLOR DASH, TRIM, ETC, SHOULD BE REPLACED AT COMPANY EXPENSE. THIS IS A NEW MODEL AND IT WOULD BE BETTER NOW THAN LATER, BEFORE SOMEONE GETS HURT, OR WORSE, KILLED!
I HAVE A LIGHT GRAY INTERIOR TRIM PACKAGE AND THE GLARE FROM THE DASHBOARD IS EXTREME. THERE ARE TIMES, LIKE PULLING INTO MY OWN OR PUBLIC GARAGES, WHEN MY VISIBILITY IS REDUCED ALMOST COMPLETELY. ON THE OPEN ROAD THE PROBLEM IS ALSO SIGNIFICANT. TO MAINTAIN GOOD VISIBILITY I HAVE RESORTED TO WEARING POLARIZED SUNGLASSES AT ALL TIMES DURING DAYLIGHT DRIVING.
THIS IS A NEW LEASED VEHICLE. ISSUE RELATES TO SEVERE FORWARD VISIBILITY IMPAIRMENT IN DAYLIGHT DUE TO DASHBOARD REFLECTION. MY CAR INTERIORS ARE LIGHT ASH GRAY-CERAMIC WHICH INCLUDE A LIGHT-GRAY COLORED DASHBOARD AND TRIMMING. I HAVE RELAYED THIS ISSUE TO THE DEALERSHIP (WESELOH CHEVROLET – SAN DIEGO CA) – BUT THEIR RECOMMENDATION WAS TO PURCHASE A DARK-COLORED 3RD PARTY DASH-COVER. I AM CONCERNED 3RD PARTY DASH MAT COULD COMPROMISE OR OTHERWISE ADVERSELY AFFECT THE PERFORMANCE / DEPLOYMENT OF DASHBOARD AIR-BAGS DURING A COLLISION – THUS COMPROMISING THE SAFETY OF PASSENGERS.
THE VISIBILITY IMPAIRMENT IS QUITE SEVERE DURING DAYLIGHT (SEE PHOTOS). THIS PRESENTS THE FOLLOWING POTENTIAL RISKS:
– DANGER TO PEDESTRIANS
– INCREASED RISK OF COLLISION & CAR/PROPERTY DAMAGE
– FATIGUE IF DRIVING FOR PROLONGED TIMES
– (IF USING 3RD PARTY DASH COVER) RISK OF MALFUNCTIONING DASHBOARD / SRS
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