December 6, 2021

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Chevy To Bolt Drivers Worried About Fires: Park 50 Feet From Other Cars

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“Park 50 feet or more away from another vehicle.”

Chevy Bolt EV and EUV owners won’t find this recommendation on the electric vehicle’s official recall website. It’s instead what General Motors “concierge” customer service specialists are telling concerned owners who call in with questions about parking the recalled vehicles.

The Chevy Bolt EV and new EUV models from 2017 through 2022 are under a recall for battery fire risk. It’s been a long saga that started in November for some early models before expanding to include every Bolt last month. GM says battery-maker LG supplied defective batteries that have sparked fires.

Just a few weeks ago, another Bolt EV exploded while parked in Sacramento, Calif. Several cars parked around it were burned in the overnight fireball. The car owner, 20-year-old Jesus Damian, told Mashable in an email last week that Chevy is still determining the cause of the fire. (So far, all of the Bolt fires have been in parked cars.)

A Chevy spokesperson explained Friday in an email that customers who call 1-833-EVCHEVY and ask about parking in decks, lots, and structures will get this recommendation:

In an effort to reduce potential damage to structures and nearby vehicles in the rare event of a potential fire, we recommend parking on the top floor or on an open-air deck and park 50 feet or more away from another vehicle. Additionally, we still request you do not leave your vehicle charging unattended, even if you are using a charging station in a parking deck.

This isn’t advice that all Bolt owners are receiving, however. Chevy is only currently giving it to those who ask.

Chevy still advises that until a safe battery replacement, car swap, or buyback is available, customers should follow three main recommendations after updating the car software. The official advice from the company is to keep the battery charged above 70 mile of remaining range, never charge to 100 percent, and park outside after charging and never leave the car charging indoors unattended.

It hasn’t officially published anything online about parking distances while shopping at the mall or parking at your apartment lot. A Chevy spokesperson said the parking recommendation won’t be posted on the main recall site or elsewhere, though he didn’t explain why. He said call center specialists will continue to dispense the extra advice.

While this is affecting Bolts it has already sold, Chevy’s Bolt factory is still closed, adding to the nearly $2 billion cost of the recall. There’s currently no time estimate for when LG will have a defect-free battery available, which is frustrating owners.

Chevy’s latest parking guidance might not have made it to the recall website, but it still affects every Bolt owner continuing to drive the car or who doesn’t have access to remote, isolated parking.

It also seems to put some responsibility on other drivers to avoid the models parked on the streets: Makes you think twice about pulling into that spot next to a Bolt.

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