Chevrolet Bolt EV owners have have been banned from a San Francisco parking lot over concerns they might catch fire, even when not plugged in.
The ban follows the recent news that General Motors is recalling all Bolt EV and Bolt EUVs ever made, totalling more than 142,000 cars around the world, a move that will cost the automaker nearly $2 billion.
Without providing an exact location, a Reddit user shared an image of a sign that had been put up at an “outdoor lot in San Francisco.” The sign says the ban has been implemented “for customer safety” and that Bolt EVs are not allowed to park at the facility.
The note mentions nothing about charging or charging stations, indicating the ban includes when owners are not plugged into an EV charger.
Reaction to the ban online was mixed, but most felt it was an overreaction. As many pointed out there are far more internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles that catch fire each year than compared to EVs.
When looking at the actual statistics that is the case for the Bolt EV, with about a dozen reported fires for the more than 142,000 vehicles sold, making the chances of one catching fire, especially while not plugged in, extremely low.
This isn’t the only parking lot owner to overreact. Another user also commented that a similar ban was recently implemented at the parking garage at his office.
UPDATE: We have since learned that SP+ Parking, a company with parking lots across the US, has also implemented a Bolt EV ban. Their notice posted at one of their lots in Seattle, Washington, explicitly mentions “fire-related safety concerns” as the reason for the ban.
According to GM, the potential fire risk is the result of two manufacturing defects from the battery supplier, LG Energy Solutions. The company says that in rare circumstances, a torn anode tab and folded separator can both be present in a single battery cell, resulting in the possibility of a fire.
The fix is an expensive one with GM committing to replacing all the impacted battery packs. Until the replacement has been made, GM is advising owners not to park their cars inside or leave them charging unattended. They are also asking customers to not charge to more than 90%, and not deplete them lower than 70 miles (113km) of remaining range.