General Motors believes that about 4,000 examples of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt electric sedan may have a software glitch that could cause the electric engine to shut down or “stall” while being driven. The problem is immediately remedied by letting the car sit for any from 2 to 5 minutes, after which time the 2013 Volt will start up and operate as expected. This issue only affects a small group of Chevy Volt EVs from the 2013 model year – 2011 and 2012 model year Volts are not included in this service bulletin nor are they affected by this problem. I should also point out that an electric motor cannot actually stall as that is a function of a combustion engine but for the average consumer – stalling is the best way to describe the sudden loss of drivetrain power while driving their vehicle. GM reportedly issued this bulletin after receiving a “few reports” from owners who ran into this stalling issue with their brand new Volt. There have been no reports of accidents or injuries stemming from this problem with the 2013 Volt.
The 2013 Chevrolet Volt is equipped with a delayed charging function that allows owners to tell the on board charging system when to charge and how strong of a charge should be applied during certain time periods. Electricity costs more during peak usage hours so charging the Volt between the hours of, say, 10pm and 6am would cost less than charging from 10am to 6pm. Unfortunately, there seems to be a programming error in that system that could malfunction – which can cause the electric drive system to power down. When the electric engine “stalls”, the car will lose speed but unlike a true stalling condition in a tradition gas-powered vehicle, the Volt will continue to have power brakes and power steering so the driver will not lose the ability to stop or steer their electric Chevy.
"We are notifying 2013 model year Chevy Volt owners about a customer satisfaction issue. We have received a few reports from owners that their electric motor has temporarily stopped working, resulting from a software anomaly when their vehicle is in the delayed time and rate charge mode," said GM spokeswoman Michele Malcho. "We're asking owners to bring their vehicles into their local Chevy dealer for a re-flash of the vehicle's control system, which should take less than an hour. Until then, we're recommending that customers switch to immediate instead of delayed time charging to avoid this inconvenience."
General Motors has sent out official notices via FedEx contacting owners of the affected 4,000 2013 Chevrolet Volt EVs that are believed to be affected by this problem. GM has also instructed dealerships to reprogram those 2013 Volts sitting on dealer lots around the country. The problem is fixed simply by a dealership technician hooking the 2013 Volt up to a computer and reprogramming the troublesome coding in the Volt’s built in charging system. GM claims that the reprogramming of the computer system will take less than an hour so Volt owners should be able to get in and out of the dealership pretty quickly with the repairs. Even among those 4,000 or so 2013 Chevy Volts that could be affected by this problem, the problem only occurs to those owners who use the delaying charging system.
Source: The Detroit News