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I purchased my 2017 Bolt in August of 2019. It now has 50K miles and I drive about 6K miles per year. I do not know the maintenance history, if any. Now I am trying to figure out if I have a "first design battery" or a "second design battery". According to my VIN # it appears I have a first design battery -- if it had not been replaced before I purchased the car. I have a VIN# before the VIN Breakpoint (1G1FX6S06H4163254) where they started using the second design battery.

I ask this because I understand that the first design battery had an inherent problem: Bolt 2017 reports greater range than I actually have and may run out of battery power while driving. Does anyone have any background on this? (For background see WeberAuto at:
Go to: 2:40 to 5:16
 

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You did not say what you daily commute is.

Before Covid, we drove our 2017 Bolt over 16k miles per year. Average drive of 70 miles round trip. We never came close to an empty battery, even in winter when you easily lose 20-30% range. The car is charged daily at night, so always a full battery in the morning.
 

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re: 2017 Bolt
I don't have a daily commute since I am retired. Also I don't have a nightly plug in because I live in an apartment building. So I go to my neighbor's home for a 2nd level charge when the GOM gets low enough (using the minimum miles estimate)

I live in Western Washington and from March 2020 to now I have not used any accessaries. I had 104 min miles on Mar 12. Then I went out of town so it was not driven for 4 months. When I came home on July 2, to same miles, 104 minimum miles and it started right up!
That 104 min miles went down to 30 min miles from July to October 20th, making round trips to pick up groceries -- about 4 miles round trips, no accessories used; city driving down the street. But overnight the battery went dead with the 30 min miles on the dashboard. I just thought it didn't make much sense to have 30 min miles on it and the 12V battery go dead. (Obviously, I will now take to get it charged at about 40 min miles.)
A recent full charge at the dealer gave me a 100% full at only 152 min miles. as I recallI used to get 200 min miles on a 100% full charge. See the dashboard photos now. (This history is without a hilltop charge--but I did just turn it on, as you can see in the photos) At the dealer (10/23/20) I also got a software update.
 

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This is my first post in years, having been among the original crowd at this website. Had leased a gen 1 Volt in 2012, turned it in in 2015. Shortly after, took over a lease on a Spark EV with a year an a half left. A really fun pocket rocket it was, it gave me experience in living with limited (80+ mile) range. Followed up by purchasing a Bolt at the end of 2017, which I still drive daily.

I know nothing about "first" nor "second design" battery. My average has been around 5 miles/kw which ain't bad. When recharging is complete the estimated range is typically in the 290 range in the summer, and down around 240 in the cold months.

So, what is the question?
 

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It sounds to me like the "inherent problem" in the first design Bolt batteries was related to the battery coolant connections. The problem of inaccurate range estimates was more of a quality control problem with the battery cells. I suspect that type of problem is similar to what one might experience in a Volt that has a cell balancing problem, i.e., low voltage in a "problem" cell in a Volt might trigger the "switch to gas" transition before the full "usable window" has been used. The Bolt can’t "switch to gas," so it would likely either go into reduced propulsion power mode or lose power at that point.

I located some references to the "first design/second design" Bolt battery distinction in a chevybolt.org thread from March of 2018:


The design change appears to be unrelated to the OP’s inaccurate range estimate problem. One post said, "The principle change was for battery maintenance purposes. To keep the technician from accidentally reconnecting the battery coolant lines backwards, GM made the hose ends one male and one female, instead of having two female connectors. Other stuff was relatively minor, in the world of ever-changing battery technology."

Another member commented, "As others have said, there was a change to the coolant line couplers, going to one male, and one female coupler, on the battery, to prevent inadvertently switching them... The problem with the early battery packs was stated as some cell or cells with low capacity showing up in some packs. This would be a QC, or production problem at LG. GM says the problem has been identified, and rectified going forward. They have been able to catch some of these low capacity cells from readings from the BMS (battery management system)..."

Another post referred to information that said, "We are aware of a small number of early Bolt EV customers who have experienced loss of propulsion. Due to a battery low voltage condition, the car may incorrectly report remaining range at low states of charge and lose propulsion before the customer expects."
 

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Carolyn does not having a nightly charge opportunity at her apartment. So the charge has to last several days or so. Given that the range estimate is just an estimate and actual range can vary, Carolyn is worried about running out of battery while driving. Short of moving to a residence that has a wall outlet, or using public charging, or charging at work, or driving fewer miles, I have little advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Carolyn does not having a nightly charge opportunity at her apartment. So the charge has to last several days or so. Given that the range estimate is just an estimate and actual range can vary, Carolyn is worried about running out of battery while driving. Short of moving to a residence that has a wall outlet, or using public charging, or charging at work, or driving fewer miles, I have little advice.
You are correct. My car battery was dead, unexpectedly, when it read "30 min miles" on the daskboard. That scared me..and also thinking especially if I had been on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
You are correct. My car battery was dead, unexpectedly, when it read "30 min miles" on the dashboard. That scared me..and also thinking especially if I had been on the road... And more so, after having seen the video by WeberAuto re: first design batteries (which I determined I may have by my VIN#)
 

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Keep in mind your Bolt’s fuel tank holds units of fuel, not units of distance, and a range estimate is just that - an estimate based on how efficiently you have driven recently. The car’s range estimate programming is also dealing with the limited amount of driving you do. This car is capable of driving 200+ miles non-stop on a single charge, and you drove only 70 miles over 4 months this past summer without recharging! Perhaps for you, the number of green bars of power remaining on the power flow display would provide you with a better indication of remaining usable power than the range estimation.

It sounds like you have ready access to charging, but at your neighbor’s home. That suggests the inconvenience of charging, rather than something else, is why you allow the volume of fuel to drop near the "bottom of the tank" before refueling, so to speak, instead of charging it more often. To me, that seem somewhat akin to ignoring the gas gauge of a gas car until the arrow is on the "E" before you think about refueling ("the tank is not really empty until the arrow actually drops below the E!"). A faulty indicator (fuel gauge/range estimate) can result in a trip cut short by the need to refuel. If your concern is running out of power during a 6-10 mile drive because the computer’s remaining range estimate was too high, it seems you could avoid that by recharging before the remaining range drops so low.

Based on the discussion in the bolt.org thread I mentioned in my previous post, I suspect your concern (inaccurate range estimates when the Bolt battery is low on charge) has more to do with the quality control/defective cell issue in those Bolt batteries than with the first/second design issue (that has more to do with the cooling system). It is indeed possible your Bolt may have one or more defective cells, and at low levels of battery charge, this may result in an overestimate of the minimum range remaining. I would think your local Bolt service department can run tests for this sort of problem to identify any cell balancing problems. Volt owners can view their individual battery cell voltages using an OBD reader and the mygreenvolt app, but I’m not sure if the mygreenvolt app is yet capable of providing the individual cell voltages for the Bolt. If so, that might be one method of viewing the current condition of your battery cells.

It also appears that GM has developed a program to deal with this Bolt fault, Program N172127150, dated Apr 3, 2018: Loss of Propulsion - High Voltage Battery Without Notification - expires 4/30/2020, and then this was extended to the 2018 Bolts.

It is possible your concerns may have been addressed if this program is the software update you recently got from your dealer on 10/23/20. See:


Here is a long thread from 2018 on this Program N17212750 discussing various issues from the chevybolt.org website:

 

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Is this recall related to the "First Design Battery" problem?

I post the WebAuto video here posting the concern over the "First Design Battery". Go here to see this video (go to minutes 2:40 to 5:16)

I got the recall notice (NHTSA Recall #20v701 and manufacturer Recall# N202311730). I also determined that I have a "First Design Battery" by the VIN number, according to the video above.

I am at the Chevy dealer right now for a "reprogram the hybrid propulsion control model". I received the recall notice in my email.
 
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Is this recall related to the "First Design Battery" problem?

I post the WebAuto video here posting the concern over the "First Design Battery". Go here to see this video (go to minutes 2:40 to 5:16)

I got the recall notice (NHTSA Recall #20v701 and manufacturer Recall# N202311730). I also determined that I have a "First Design Battery" by the VIN number, according to the video above.

I am at the Chevy dealer right now for a "reprogram the hybrid propulsion control model". I received the recall notice in my email.
Hi Carolyn,

Based on our investigation:
1) We have no confirmed reports of fires related to battery cells that were not produced at LG Chem’s Ochang facility.
2) We also have no confirmed reports of fires related to battery cells produced at Ochang for model-year 2020 and 2021 Bolt EVs after continuous improvements were implemented.
3) Confirmed incidents showed a high state of battery charge at the time of the incident based on the data we recovered.
The 90% charge limit provides a margin of safety to the state of charge we have confirmed on incident vehicles. Additionally, this high state of charge correlates to a root cause under investigation. Rest assured, our engineers are working around the clock to identify a permanent remedy investigate the root cause. We expect to have the permanent remedy available after the first of the year, 2021.

Andrea C.
 

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Hi Carolyn,

Based on our investigation:
1) We have no confirmed reports of fires related to battery cells that were not produced at LG Chem’s Ochang facility.
2) We also have no confirmed reports of fires related to battery cells produced at Ochang for model-year 2020 and 2021 Bolt EVs after continuous improvements were implemented.
3) Confirmed incidents showed a high state of battery charge at the time of the incident based on the data we recovered.
The 90% charge limit provides a margin of safety to the state of charge we have confirmed on incident vehicles. Additionally, this high state of charge correlates to a root cause under investigation. Rest assured, our engineers are working around the clock to identify a permanent remedy investigate the root cause. We expect to have the permanent remedy available after the first of the year, 2021.

Andrea C.
My question was:
Is this recall related to the "First Design Battery" problem? I don't believe you answered it, did you? How is the "LG Chem’s Ochang facility" related to this? I am just learning so I appreciate your response...
Thanks so much.
 
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