General Motors won’t build any new Chevy Bolt EVs until at least the end of January 2022. The automaker will instead stay focused on making replacement batteries for the 140,000-plus Bolts that were recalled earlier this year after a series of fires.
The Bolt production line at GM’s Orion assembly plant in Michigan will remain shut down “through the week of Jan. 24, 2022,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “We will continue to inform employees at the appropriate time of any additional production schedule adjustments, as we continue to focus on battery module replacements.”
GM had already said that it wasn’t going to make any more Bolts for the rest of this year, though Thursday’s announcement put a more fine date on things. But it’s very possible the shutdown will continue beyond then given how the recall has gone to date. Either way, it leaves GM in a weird spot where it’s being praised by President Biden for “leading the world in electric vehicles” while not currently selling any in the US. (The Bolt is the only EV the company currently has to offer stateside, at least until new vehicles like the GMC Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyriq, and others start to ship in the next few months.)
GM originally recalled 2017–2019 model year Chevy Bolts in November 2020 following a few reported fires. In May of this year, it announced a plan to put new software on those older Bolts (and the new 2022 versions that launched this year) that was supposed to help prevent fires from happening. But that software didn’t work, and so GM issued another recall in July. After a newer model year Bolt caught fire in August, GM recalled all Bolt EVs ever made and stopped production.
Both GM and LG, its supplier, have been working to produce defect-free batteries since September, and the automaker has been swapping those into Bolts since October. LG is paying GM around $2 billion to cover the cost of the recall. GM made a small number of Bolts with the new batteries in early November to be used as loaners for customers affected by the recall.