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NHTSA Looking Into Chevrolet Bolt EV Fires

The Chevrolet Bolt is under the microscope at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), after three models of the EV suffered similar fire damage. Although the cause of the fire is not yet known, the agency noted that the fire damage appears to be concentrated in the car's battery compartment.

Fires have been reported on 2017, 2018 and 2019 Bolt models, and all three exhibited a similar burn pattern on or around the rear seats. NHTSA issued a statement explaining that the fires apparently began in the battery compartment before spreading to the passenger compartment; they did not start inside the passenger compartment.

The complaints made by customer provide more information about the problem. According to a March 2019 report, owners of a 2018 Bolt parked their vehicle in their garage at approximately 3:45 p.m. and connected it to a Level 2 terminal. They were warned by a passerby that the car was on fire around 5:00 p.m. Several neighbouring homes had to be evacuated and firefighters spent about three hours putting out the fire. The homeowners reported smoke inhalation injuries, again according to the NHTSA release, and had to hire a professional to clean their home. They added that the rear compartment was "apparently burning from the inside, in the area of the battery cells.

Chevrolet sent two engineers to inspect the Level 2 charger, and then purchased the Bolt from the insurance company. Nothing has been made public so far.

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