GM and LG agree to bear recall costs for "Bolt EV" etc.-The cause is a defect in battery manufacturing

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Posted on: 10/27/21

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General Motors agreed on October 12, 2021 that battery maker LG Electronics will cover $ 1.9 billion of the total $ 2 billion in recall costs for the electric vehicle Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV. I announced that I did. The cause was a defect in battery manufacturing.

GM and LG agree to bear recall costs for electric vehicle "Bolt EV" etc.-The cause is a defect in battery manufacturing
The first recall is November 2020
In November 2020, General Motors (GM) announced a recall of Chevrolet's electric vehicle (EV), the Bolt, as a rare fire could occur. According to CNBC, the US media, the recall target was the 2017-2019 model year (manufactured in 2016-18), with 68,667 units worldwide. Of these, about 51,000 are in the United States.


2019 model `` Bolt EV''
In a release on November 13, 2020, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) announced that the fire had caused two injuries and was aware of five fires. ..

CNBC commented on the fire that Chevrolet's senior chief engineer said the fired battery was at or near full charge and was manufactured by LG Chem between May 2016 and May 2019. He also told me that he was doing it, and that GM updated the battery management software to limit the maximum charge to 90%.

At that time, GM was not recalling the 2020 model year. On the other hand, NHTSA said on October 9, 2020, it would investigate 77,842 "bolts" including the 2020 model year.

In addition, NHTSA announced in a safety recall report on November 13 that the batteries were manufactured at LG Chem's plant in Ochan, South Korea.

Significantly expanded recall targets in August 2021

2020 model.
Approximately eight months after the first recall, on July 14, CNBC and others reported that two new fires had occurred in the recalled "Bolt". One of them occurred while charging at the home of a Vermont General Assembly member.

On the same day as the announcement by GM, NHTSA issued an alert regarding "Bolt". With this alert, NHTSA recommends parking the "Bolt" outdoors. It warns that if parked inside a building, the car could ignite the building and cause a greater fire.

About a month later, on August 20, GM announced an additional recall. The recall targets are all "Bolts" from the 2019 model year to the 2022 model year that were previously excluded. The total number of units in the United States and Canada is approximately 73,000. Combined with the ones that have already been targeted, the total number is 141,685.

At the time of the announcement of the recall, GM announced that the expected additional cost would be approximately $ 1 billion. In addition, GM reported that after investigating the manufacturing process of the problematic "Bolt" battery, it found that there were manufacturing defects not only in the already announced Ochan factory but also in other factories. I am.

According to GM's announcement, there are two defects in the battery manufactured at the factory in question: (1) the anode tab (tab on the negative electrode side) is damaged, and (2) there is a folded part in the separator. is. If these two defects exist at the same time, the risk of fire increases.

I presume that the anode tab is the part of the tongue that pulls out the contacts from inside the battery. Does the fact that the separator is folded mean that the edge of the notebook is bent?

GM also revealed that the batteries replaced by the recall have a warranty of 8 years / 100,000 miles (8 years / 160,000 km in Canada).

In addition, GM will set the recalled vehicle users to limit the charge to 90%, and charge as often as possible so that the battery level does not fall below about 70 miles (113 km). We requested that the car be parked outdoors immediately after charging, and that it should not be left charged indoors all night.

LG bears $ 1.9 billion out of total recall costs of about $ 2 billion
When GM made it clear that the cause of the "Bolt" recall was in the battery manufacturing process, the focus shifted to who would bear the recall costs. In the release, GM has stated that it will require payment from its suppliers.

Regarding LG Chem's battery, it is known that not only GM but also Hyundai Motor's "Kona EV" had a fire accident. On August 30, 2020, Reuters reported that Hyundai Motor investigated a fire accident in the Kona EV and identified it as the cause of a short circuit inside the battery cell. There were 15 fire accidents in South Korea, Europe and Canada. There is no recall announcement for "Kona EV" in the United States.

In addition, Reuters announced in February 2021 that the Korean authorities would recall the "Kona EV" equipped with a battery cell manufactured at LG Science's Chinese factory, and in the same month Hyundai Motor announced the recall of "Kona EV." It also announced plans to recall about 82,000 EVs, including Hyundai Kona, and reported that it expected the estimated cost to be close to 900 million dollars.

After the announcement of this recall, GM has temporarily suspended production of "Bolt". It is reported that the shutdown of the "Bolt" assembly plant was postponed until the end of October, partly due to the shortage of semiconductors (as of October 18, 2021).

Through the above process, on October 12, 2021, GM agreed that LG Electronics (LG Electronics), which is responsible for battery manufacturing at LG Chem, will bear the recall costs caused by defects in battery manufacturing. I announced that.

GM has announced that the costs associated with the recall will be approximately $ 2 billion. Of this amount, 1.9 billion dollars (about 217.1 billion yen) will be paid to GM by LG Electronics, which is in charge of battery manufacturing. In other words, LG Electronics will bear almost all costs.

LG Electronics released a preliminary report of the third quarter 2021 financial results on the same day as GM's announcement. In this, it is revealed that the recall of "Bolt" includes an allowance of about 480 billion won (about 46.2 billion yen) in the third quarter. By the way, LG Electronics' consolidated sales were 18.8 trillion won (about 1.812 trillion yen), the highest ever.

LG Chem also pays most of the costs for the recalls of "Kona EV" and "Ioniq" mentioned above. The cause of the recall was a battery made at an LG Chem factory in Nanjing, China. On March 6, 2021, Nikkei Asia reported that the recall cost would be approximately $ 900 million, 70% of which would be borne by LG Chem.

In addition, Volkswagen EV is also being recalled due to the battery of LG Energy Solution.

It seems that the quality of the LG Group batteries was not good. Some experts speculate that the LG battery that caused the recall may be due to the strong demand for cost reduction. I don't know the root cause because it hasn't been announced, but GM hasn't broken its relationship with LG Electronics since the recall. However, we have announced that we will jointly take measures for quality.

Recalling a key component called a battery is also a negative for the EV market. Besides, LG batteries are used by many manufacturers such as GM, Ford and Volkswagen, so there are concerns about the effects of stumbling. It seems that we need to pay close attention to whether the mass recall of GM will improve the quality of LG.

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