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Saturday, January 22, 2022

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    GM ‘not confident’ LG Chem will build defect-free Bolt batteries

    General Motors will keep its Orion Assembly plant idled and not start repairs on the nearly 141,000 recalled Chevrolet Bolts EVs and EUVs until it is confident its supplier can make a defect-free EV battery that does not pose a potential fire risk.

    And right now, GM does not believe its battery-maker, LG Chem, can do that.

    GM and LG Chem have “hundreds of people” working around the clock, seven days a week, to find the cause of the defective battery modules connected to some Bolts catching fire without impact, said GM spokesman Dan Flores.

    “If we took the battery stock that’s in the field right now or at a warehouse, we’re not confident that it is defect-free,” Flores said. “Because we are not confident that LG has the capability to build defect-free products, we’ve put the repairs on hold and we are not building new Bolts. We’re not going to start recall repairs or start building new Bolts until we’re confident LG will build defect-free products.”

    LG did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

    GM’s investigation of LG

    LG builds the battery cells at its LG Energy Solution Michigan, Inc., facility in Holland, Michigan, Flores said. GM’s engineers are studying LG’s manufacturing process there as well as tearing down battery packs, inspecting cells and even monitoring how LG packs the cells into the modules, then into a battery pack at LG Electronics, a packing facility in Hazel Park, in an effort to help find the cause of the defects, he said.

    2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV battery system

    LG is cooperating and providing GM the data it requests, Flores said, noting LG is as eager as GM to fix the problem.

    “It’s in everybody’s best interest if we speed the repairs along as best as we can,” Flores said. “Both LG and GM understand the significance in what we’re doing here and we’re committed to doing the right thing for our customers.”

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