The Wareham, Massachusetts fire department was called to battle an electric vehicle fire on August 5th, at about 4:15 A.M. According to reports from the fire department and owner, it looks as if the fire started spontaneously. The owner and fire department say the vehicle was not running and was not being charged when the fire began. It was parked outside.
Wareham FD reports, “The first arriving crews encountered an electric car on fire in the driveway with multiple exposure issues. After knocking down the initial fire, firefighters continued to wet the vehicle down, and approximately 30 minutes later, the fire again flared up. Firefighters remained on the scene for about three hours using over 11,000 gallons of water to ensure the fire was extinguished.”
Incident Commander Chief John Kelley of Wareham FD said, "If this vehicle had been parked in a garage, the results could have been disastrous. Additionally, electric vehicle fires are difficult to fight and present unique challenges.” Chief Kelly told WCVB News, “We had to control the hazard we had there and try to cool off the batteries…we did use (that) that morning."
The owner of the vehicle told reporters, “It sounded like a big poof. And he looked to the window, and he saw the smoke.” The owner reports that she had been leasing the 2021 Bolt for three years and that she had taken the vehicle to have the battery-fire recall work performed, however, she reports "...they had no batteries to give us. So, we were waiting."
Electric vehicle advocacy publication Elektrek recently reported that GM has stopped doing battery swaps. Instead, a software fix would be used in place of the full battery replacement performed on thousands of other Bolts.
By all appearances, the Chevrolet Bolt is still suffering from a battery issue at this time. In related news, GM’s GMC Hummer EV, as well as the Cadillac Lyric, have also been recalled due to battery problems. Unless we missed an EV, it seems that every General Motors electric vehicle on sale today has batteries with defects necessitating a recall.
For images of the Bolt mentioned in this story on fire, please try this link which takes you directly to the Wareham FD Facebook page. Torque News has opted not to sensationalize this story by showing images of the fire, or offering any personal opinions on the facts as we know them. Image of Gen 1 Bolt courtesy of GM media support. You can read the WCVB news story at this link.
John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.