The plant has been offline since August 23, as the GM works with its battery pack supplier, LG Chem, to address two unspecified manufacturing defects that have been identified as the cause of the fires.
The recall has gone on to sweep up every Chevy Bolt ever sold, amounting to roughly 110,000 vehicles that will either need key components replaced or entire battery backs swapped out. The recall is priced at $1.8 billion, a cost GM hopes to recoup through an eventual agreement with LG Chem.
The recall itself has been ongoing since November 2020. At first, the recall only pertained to Bolts sold in 2017-2019. In May of this year, GM's efforts to address the defect with a software fix proved futile, leading to the automaker admitting in July that the fire risk specifically came from the Bolt's faulty battery packs.
Throughout the recall, owning a Chevy Bolt has not just become an inconvenience, but also for some the constant, albeit minimal, threat of spontaneous vehicular combustion.
Weeks ago, GM told Bolt owners to park 50 feet away from other vehicles due to the risk of causing a chain reaction that might engulf a whole parking lot. Before that, drivers were advised not to charge their cars overnight, in their garages, or close to their homes. They've been told not to drive too far on a single charge or charge their batteries too much.
However, in August, Recurrent, a service that monitors the battery health of electric vehicles, found that 30% of Bolt owners using its service had chosen to ignore GM's advice, either by letting their car drop under 70 miles in range or by charging their batteries over 90%.
Nevertheless, some Bolt owners say they feel as though they're sitting on a ticking time bomb. Some of them have tried to sell their vehicles back to GM, with limited to no success.
"This has been a very complex recall, but we've been moving as quickly as possible to provide our customers with information as we learned new developments alongside our supplier, LG," Kevin Kelly, head of PR at Chevy, told "The Verge" in an email.
"We understand and can certainly appreciate the frustration that our Bolt EV owners have experienced over the past few months, but we're committed to doing the right thing for our customers, and we know we have to get the recall repair right."
The Chevy Bolt debuted in 2016 as GM's way to get a foothold in the electric vehicle market, then dominated by Tesla
The Bolt had come to find a well-established foothold in the market as a middle-of-the-road, competent and affordable electric vehicle before the recall. What impact the Bolt's ongoing saga will have on GM's ambitions to fully electrify its lineup by 2035 remains to be seen.
In addition to announcing the continued shutdown, GM also announced plans to cut production at six of its North American plants due to the ongoing chip shortage.