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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm not an attorney, but given the repeated stories and similarities in our experiences, I'd like to see what the pulse may be for some sort of class action.

I specifically shopped for a GM Certified car in Nov. 2021 because I believed the warranty would be important. Three months later, the BECM was diagnosed as bad. The warranty covers repairs, but I've been waiting more than a month with no ETA on a part. Some online suppliers seem to have the part in stock, but the dealer says they can't use a part that's purchased elsewhere. The warranty provides courtesy transportation, but the dealer claims there are no loaners. They won't return my calls. I complained to GM, and they said they would look into it, but I haven't heard anything back yet.

The 2018 warranty explicitly states: "A part not being available within 10 days or a repair not being completed within 30 days constitutes a significant inconvenience."

If anyone else who has not received adequate service when their battery energy control module failed would be interested in looking into a class action, please PM me or email me (zimmerdale at yahoo dot com) with your name, phone number and/or email, your state, year of your Volt, and a brief overview of your experience, I'll try to compile a summary for circulation to see whether anything can come of this.
 

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not an attorney but we can rely on you to spam this message to every BECM thread? :) I'm deleting all the duplicates.
 

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No worries. It gets confusing and hard to follow when replies start showing up in three different threads rather than consolidated in one.
 

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It also occurred to me to try and get a list together, as people were naturally offering up their situations. I'm curious if anyone has written you. Also, there's lots of BECM sufferers over at reddit r/volt.

I've reached out to as many contact points as I can at GM - wrote the former Program Manager for Volt/Bolt, who responded and forwarded my message along. The gist of the message is "I'm not trying to get you to solve my problem, but you should know that there are quite a few Volt owners who are very unhappy, and given that Volt/Bolt owners are the early adopter crowd you'll need to generate the future EV sales, it might be a fire you want to put out". I also sent similar messages to GM/Chevy's various social media contact points.

I don't know much about lawsuits, and I need to dig into my 2017's CPO warranty, but I would just like to see GM make at least some accommodation - establishing a rental reimbursement program, extending warranties to make up for the months of warranty wasted while cars are stuck at dealerships... something?

As I've mentioned in other threads, part of my frustration is that I don't really buy that GM can pawn this off on the supply chain crisis given that it was a known issue well before covid, and it's a critical part - not exactly rocket science to look at the failure rate and fleet size and take a guess at the needed supply. If they can build whole new factories lines and models, they can honor the basics of the warranties they sold and we paid for. Companies have to make choices with limited resources, and it's hard not to see this as GM choosing to prioritize new sales/future revenue instead of prioritizing existing customers. I don't know what their legal obligations are, but it certainly doesn't make me want to be at the whim of GM's priorities or resource management ever again. If what I've read is true, it's an LG made part, which might make things more complex.

I'm up to 68 days. I do miss the thing, regardless of my smoldering animosity towards GM.
 

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Before going the class action route, file a report with the NHTSA and your state dept of consumer protection (different states call it different names). I suspect there have been enough BECM failures at this point to get the NHTSA to order a full recall to replace all of them.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's not clear to me how the BECM failure is a NHTSA issue of safety. Has anyone reported this to NHTSA as a safety problem and gotten a response that indicates they're taking it seriously? Air bags and seat belts and fire hazards seem to be their focus.

I'm more interested in this as a warranty issue. Three months ago I didn't know anything about the BECM problems. I thought I did my homework on the Volts, and I purchased a single owner, female driven, 2017 Premium from a dealer as a GM Certified used car. I found it through the GM website, and GM told me it had been fully inspected and had zero issues. I bought it in PA and had it shipped to KS.

Now it seems clear that GM has known that the BECM was a problem for a long time, and could have had it repaired as part of the GM certification process, but they were happy for me to buy a non-repaired model as GM Certified. Three months and 3k miles later, we're stuck.

For an example of what a class action could offer, see the recent Hyundai class action: FAQ | HMA Engine Settlement

What can I get from the settlement?
  • Warranty Extension
  • Reimbursement for Past Repairs
  • Reimbursement for Rental Car, Towing, Etc.
  • Compensation for Inconvenience Due to Repair Delays
  • Compensation If You Traded In or Sold a Class Vehicle
  • Compensation for Vehicle Involved in an Engine Fire
  • Rebate Program
 

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I mean that's all pretty reasonable, in terms of compensations. Not asking to get anything other than what I paid for.

For the sake of discussion, though, the BECM failure events we experienced were serious safety issues. Total shutdown of car while in motion, one event almost leaving the car stuck on train tracks. It's not as if the car switched into ICE/reduced propulsion mode - it just unexpectedly came to a stop and was thereafter immobilized. My wife was driving, and good grief - if that happened on a crowded highway? I'm not sure you'd be able to get it onto a shoulder. IIRC there wasn't even power steering available in that condition. Not saying that falls into NHTSA's purview, but a serious safety issue in a general sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I mean that's all pretty reasonable, in terms of compensations. Not asking to get anything other than what I paid for.

For the sake of discussion, though, the BECM failure events we experienced were serious safety issues. Total shutdown of car while in motion, one event almost leaving the car stuck on train tracks. It's not as if the car switched into ICE/reduced propulsion mode - it just unexpectedly came to a stop and was thereafter immobilized. My wife was driving, and good grief - if that happened on a crowded highway? I'm not sure you'd be able to get it onto a shoulder. IIRC there wasn't even power steering available in that condition. Not saying that falls into NHTSA's purview, but a serious safety issue in a general sense.
That definitely sounds like a safety issue! I don't understand why our dealer then told us it's totally safe to keep driving ours?! My wife commutes with it daily on the highway. It intermittently gives the reduced propulsion warning (seems to be on really cold mornings), but that will go away after a few minutes of driving and a restart.

I would prefer to park it until it's repaired, but the dealer won't give us a loaner (despite the warranty including that), and we can't afford to rent another car for weeks on end.
 

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That definitely sounds like a safety issue! I don't understand why our dealer then told us it's totally safe to keep driving ours?! My wife commutes with it daily on the highway. It intermittently gives the reduced propulsion warning (seems to be on really cold mornings), but that will go away after a few minutes of driving and a restart.

I would prefer to park it until it's repaired, but the dealer won't give us a loaner (despite the warranty including that), and we can't afford to rent another car for weeks on end.
I can't speak to everyone's BECM failures, but both of our events were as described: car stops driving immediately, unexpectedly, and does not move after that. Side note: if this happens to you, you can hold down the start button for 7 or so seconds to reset things, after which the car may be able to limp home in ICE/reduced propulsion mode. I cannot remember if you also needed to have your foot off the brake to do this reset. Pulling the 12V probably has the same effect, but resets your CEL codes which impedes dealer diagnosis.
 

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It's not clear to me how the BECM failure is a NHTSA issue of safety. Has anyone reported this to NHTSA as a safety problem and gotten a response that indicates they're taking it seriously? Air bags and seat belts and fire hazards seem to be their focus.
Mine was replaced because it wasn't recognizing the brake pedal position sensor input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I did finally receive a response from GM ([email protected]):

We've received a response from your dealership regarding your part. At this time, the part's ETA is 4/21/22. Should there be any updates regarding that part's arrival, we'll be sure to let you know. Regarding a rental vehicle, we apologize for our inability to place you in a rental vehicle during your repair. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, travel was very limited and vehicle rental agencies reduced their overall vehicle inventory as a result. As restrictions are being lifted, more people are beginning to travel again creating a shortage of rental vehicles nationwide. The situation will most likely continue through the release of 2022 model year vehicles.

While we are unable to guarantee a rental vehicle whenever an overnight repair is required, Chevrolet does try to assist with transportation during this period. We are able to provide up to $46 per day in rental allowance as a reimbursement. Once your vehicle is repaired a rental invoice must be submitted for our review in order for the reimbursement to be processed. We understand during the current nationwide rental shortage that it might not be possible to find a vehicle within this price range. Working with our partners Enterprise and Hertz will also help to reduce your costs. We will gladly review any request for a higher rental amount once your vehicle is repaired and the rental invoice submitted.


The original date of diagnosis at the dealer was 2/21/22. So if their ETA is correct, that's two months of waiting.

The cheapest weekly prepaid rental around here from Hertz is $462.72 ($66.10/day) and from Enterprise is $452.15 ($64.59/day).
 

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I wish more people would report the BECM issue on the NTHSA complaint board - especially if it's causing a clear safety issue like suddenly stopping the car. I recently did a search on the board and found 9 hits for "BECM" or "battery energy" for 2017 Volts, and 0 for any other year (2016-19). But from this forum and Reddit it seems the problem is much more widespread. The government is not going to force a recall unless they have evidence that it's a serious and common safety issue.
 

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I wish more people would report the BECM issue on the NTHSA complaint board - especially if it's causing a clear safety issue like suddenly stopping the car. I recently did a search on the board and found 9 hits for "BECM" or "battery energy" for 2017 Volts, and 0 for any other year (2016-19). But from this forum and Reddit it seems the problem is much more widespread. The government is not going to force a recall unless they have evidence that it's a serious and common safety issue.
For anyone else looking for file a complaint, Report a Safety Problem | NHTSA
 

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The problem here is that those of us that own Volts (or have renewed leases - I don't think there can be many original leases left at this point) love them. Whereas GM executives are done with the Volt/VOLTEC and have been since probably 2018.

So the response to a class action suit over the BECM is not going to be GM diverting chips and parts supplier capacity from the eHummer, eSilverado, and new Cadillac EVs to making replacement Volt BECMs but instead for GM to make a limited-time offer to buy back any Volt at the request of the owner. Which would leave us in a worse dilemma [1].

[1] I'm dealing with a similar problem on my 2018's high voltage relay panel, although fortunately in my case the codes have been momentary and I am able to drive it while waiting for the parts. Of course it took 5 months to get a new CPU board for my KitchenAid stove and that replacement part failed in 12 hours, so...
 

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Whereas GM executives are done with the Volt/VOLTEC and have been since probably 2018.
Big agree. I think Voltec was probably the most brilliant drivetrain ever developed for a production car, but getting the sense that GM probably isn't interested in supporting the existing fleet.. well, that brilliant complexity is just a liability when not supported. Not to be dramatic, but I'm in the process of getting quotes to trade in/sell the Volt. I can't find myself with a niche vehicle with unavailable parts that I can't fix myself. Finally got mine back yesterday, so that was 77 days, and I'm super glad to have it back. The good news is there are apparently BECMs trickling out for the other folks here waiting.

It's lovely to have the car back. They're great cars. Just don't trust GM to keep mine rolling for the length of time I'd hope to own it.
 

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Big agree. I think Voltec was probably the most brilliant drivetrain ever developed for a production car, but getting the sense that GM probably isn't interested in supporting the existing fleet.. well, that brilliant complexity is just a liability when not supported. Not to be dramatic, but I'm in the process of getting quotes to trade in/sell the Volt. I can't find myself with a niche vehicle with unavailable parts that I can't fix myself. Finally got mine back yesterday, so that was 77 days, and I'm super glad to have it back. The good news is there are apparently BECMs trickling out for the other folks here waiting.

It's lovely to have the car back. They're great cars. Just don't trust GM to keep mine rolling for the length of time I'd hope to own it.
I have always thought that the Voltec powertrain was the best of both worlds and absolutely the right way to go. No range anxiety while providing decent all-electric range. No worries at all about long recharge times during long trips. I thought it was a big mistake for GM to abandon it.

Now that GM has dropped it and gone all-in on their EV-only push, other manufacturers are coming around to the idea that GM had with the Volt. EV batteries are heavy and expensive and they need to be quite large for a full EV. It seems more and more manufacturers are coming out with plug-in hybrid options that have smaller batteries (even smaller than what the Volt had) with gas engine range extenders.

It's sad to see that GM had it right all along, only to be mocked for not being a "full EV", and when they finally cave, it turns out they had a great powertrain that they abandoned.
 

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I have always thought that the Voltec powertrain was the best of both worlds and absolutely the right way to go. No range anxiety while providing decent all-electric range. No worries at all about long recharge times during long trips. I thought it was a big mistake for GM to abandon it.

Now that GM has dropped it and gone all-in on their EV-only push, other manufacturers are coming around to the idea that GM had with the Volt. EV batteries are heavy and expensive and they need to be quite large for a full EV. It seems more and more manufacturers are coming out with plug-in hybrid options that have smaller batteries (even smaller than what the Volt had) with gas engine range extenders.

It's sad to see that GM had it right all along, only to be mocked for not being a "full EV", and when they finally cave, it turns out they had a great powertrain that they abandoned.
Agree. I'm still waiting for someone else to truly take up the mantle of the Voltec approach, and keep wondering if GM will come back to it now that the consumer interest is catching up to what Voltec was offering 11 years ago. I do get that as a compromise, the Voltec drivetrain doesn't do the best in terms of efficiency once you're in ICE mode, so you end up with a car, on paper, that gets 42mpg.. an Accord or Camry hybrid look better on the window sticker. Of course, most of us Volt owners are actually getting hundreds of mpg in real life, but that doesn't make it to the window sticker. The way I've always felt is that it's the drivetrain Americans actually need, if they could only be convinced to want what they need.

My big issue with other PHEV offerings is that other than the Volt, i3, and maybe the Rav4 Prime, most the PHEVs since the Volt have such small electric motors that they must inevitably depend on ICE for typical use, which defeats most of the purpose of a PHEV for me. I could be wrong, but it seems that the Volt and i3 still stand out as the only PHEVs that are genuine BEVs until the battery is depleted.
 

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I don't think we should count on our wonderful technology coming back unless we get a complete change of policy direction. The Eco-Fascists are dictating to the manufactures for "carbon neutral" and a eventual ban of all fossil fuels. With the MPG fleet number being pushed higher and higher the manufacturers will "progressively" go to complete battery power to meet the number. Considering the simplicity of the total-electric vehicle, there is an argument for the approach. My main beef is in the whole process of battery production from the mining of the raw materials to the energy required to produce them. There are other issues in the production chain that bring to mind the term "blood diamonds". A lot of raw materials are needed that have a rather checkered history in their acquirement.

In the mean time I thoroughly enjoy the technology we chose. I dread the time when I will have to send her to the Old Volt's Home.
 

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