Washington, D.C. – December 2, 2023
In a recent development, a U.S. auto safety regulator has initiated an investigation into 73,000 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid cars due to reported issues of abrupt power loss, failures to restart, and related concerns. The “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)” announced on Friday that it has opened a preliminary evaluation into the 2016 through 2019 model year Chevrolet Volt following 61 complaints linked to the battery energy control module (BECM).
Complaints received by the NHTSA highlighted instances where there was little to no warning before the loss of operating power or the activation of reduced power mode. General Motors (GM.N) had previously released a technical service bulletin advising that if vehicles fail to restart, the BECM may need replacement and reprogramming. However, GM has not issued a recall for the affected vehicles. It’s worth noting that GM ceased production of the Volt in early 2019.
GM has assured its cooperation with the NHTSA investigation and stated that it believes it has taken appropriate actions to address customer concerns related to the battery energy control module. The company, while supporting the agency’s review, emphasized its commitment to ensuring the safety and functionality of its vehicles.
The NHTSA expressed concern that the reported issue may pose a safety risk, particularly if affected vehicles cannot move with the flow of surrounding traffic. The severity of the issue depends on a stalled vehicle’s ability to restart. Owners have reported delays in obtaining replacement battery modules, with some waiting for months to address the problem. However, GM asserts that it has a sufficient supply of replacement parts in its pipeline.
One owner in Los Angeles recounted a sudden and unexpected loss of propulsion while driving, rendering the vehicle inoperable. Another owner reported that their Volt would not exceed 35 miles per hour on the highway and would randomly stop driving on electricity.
As the investigation unfolds, the outcome will likely have implications for both Chevrolet Volt owners and General Motors, with a focus on ensuring the safety and reliability of these plug-in hybrid vehicles on the roads.