Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

Bolt owners who have been waiting for their new battery for almost two years will not automatically get the promised battery and will not be compensated, even though the manufacturer has offered compensation of US$1,400 in the United States.

Bolt owners penalized

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Christine Beaucaire, owner of a Bolt.

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Christine Beaucaire loves her Bolt, purchased in October 2020.

This car is really very, very efficient and comfortable.

A quote from Christine Beaucaire

At the time of purchase she did not know there was a problem with the battery. Less than a year later, in fall 2021, the Bolt is subject to a global recall.

All batteries on all models should be replaced. Due to a manufacturing defect, they present a fire hazard when loaded to or very close to their maximum capacity.

Since then, Bolt owners have had to deal with significant restrictions, including limiting the battery charge to 80% of its capacity.

I bought a vehicle that was supposed to have around 410 to 420 kilometers of range. I found myself with a vehicle that had about 320 kilometers of range. And that’s during the summer, emphasizes Christine Beaucaire. When it's -20°C, -25°C, I barely have 160 to 170 kilometers of range. It's not much.

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Christine Beaucaire at the wheel of her Bolt.

Christine Beaucaire impatiently waiting for the promised battery. But last August, after almost two years of waiting, she learned that her turn would not come.

While the automaker has already replaced the battery on 2017 to 2019 models and even some 2020 to 2022 models, it will instead install software on its 2020 Bolt.

Software that will still limit the charge to 80% and, in addition, will monitor the battery for 10,000 km. If it detects an anomaly, the battery will then be replaced. If no anomaly is detected, it can be recharged to 100% again.

Which means, for Christine Beaucaire and many other 2020 to 2022 Bolt owners, that she will have to drive another 10,000 km behind the wheel of a much smaller Bolt efficient.

You are not being fair, there are 2020, 2021 and even 2022 cars whose battery has been changed. And there, you don't change mine! It's just frustrating.

A quote from Christine Beaucaire

GM declined our interview request, only responding to us that the recall aims to replace defective batteries and that the objective is still the same.

General Motors' recall for the 2020-2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and EUV was to replace faulty battery modules, says Natalie Nankil, General Motors Canada. GM continues to work with owners of certain 2020-2022 Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs covered by this recall to provide new advanced diagnostic software that will detect if the battery is defective and needs to be replaced.

As for how many owners are affected by this change in direction, or how many 2020 Bolts have already received a new battery, GM remains tight-lipped.

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Georges Iny, president of the Association for the Protection of Motorists (APA).

GM had, however, presented the recall as a benefit for its customers, insisting that they will obtain new, much more efficient batteries. GM also emphasized that customers will benefit from an eight-year or 100,000-mile warranty.

However, Bolt owners who inherit Today's software instead of new batteries must draw a line under this new warranty.

The president of the Automobile Protection Association (APA) harshly criticizes GM.

It’s an injustice that GM is doing to its customers, denounces Georges Iny. They created two classes of customers: the first class receives new batteries and a warranty that starts at zero on the batteries, the second receives software for another six months or 10,000 kilometers of restrictions […] and we have withdrew the warranty offer.

The APA asked GM to reverse its decision and offer an enhanced warranty for all of its customers, whether or not they have received a new battery. It remained a dead letter.

They broke trust with their customers […] GM's management in the case of the Bolt recall, and here I am talking about the management of its communications, its relationship with customers, is clumsy.

A quote from Georges Iny, president of the APA

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Me Jacques Castonguay.

Me Jacques Castonguay has led numerous actions against automobile manufacturers. He doesn't believe GM can be forced to reverse its decision and replace the batteries. According to him, a request for an injunction from the Court to this effect would have little chance of succeeding. But customers are not without recourse. They could file a small claims lawsuit against GM or even a class action.

I cannot force you to replace the battery, illustrates Mr. Castonguay. Now, you have chosen to repair it differently, but for this lady, it represents a loss of value of the vehicle and you will have to compensate it. Because also, with the new batteries, there was an extension of the warranty. An extended warranty when I resell my vehicle, it certainly gives it value.

In the United States, GM has offered compensation of US$1,400, the equivalent of about CA$1,900, to Bolt owners who do not receive new batteries and have the new software installed by the end of December .

In Canada, GM has not offered any compensation.

Christine Beaucaire hopes to one day be compensated, but already, the American manufacturer seems to have lost a good customer.

It's a shame, I was a good ambassador for GM, for the Bolt, she emphasizes. People ask me: Are you going to buy a Bolt again? Probably not. Are you going to buy a General Motors? Probably not. The way they treated me is unacceptable.

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