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BECM (battery energy control module) issues and inconvenience — class action?

24832 Views 122 Replies 40 Participants Last post by  phattyduck
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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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.
I bought a Rav4Prime last year and am more or less happy with it. In EV mode the engine does tend to come on more often than the Volt's. It's not excessive, something like once or twice a week in cold weather (I noticed that now that I'm not using the heater, it happens less), and the most annoying thing is that there doesn't seem to be any logic as to when/why the engine starts and there is never a message indicating why the engine is on. The Volt always tells you (ERDTT, EMM, FMM). The only time it doesn't is if your hood is open. Anyway, I'd say the R4P is close to being a genuine BEV until the battery is depleted - not as close as the Volt, but probably closer than some other PHEVs. I've actually never had the engine come on when punching the accelerator, so it's not as if the R4P's motors are too small.

The R4P range is almost as good as the Volt's, and it routinely outperforms (I often get more EV miles than the stated range). And it's a fun drive, for a SUV. The Volt feels zippier, but the Volt is a small car. Of course the extra cabin space feels downright luxurious after the tiny volt. Another improvement over the Volt is that both heating and cooling of the cabin are performed with a heat pump, which is much more energy efficient than the Volt's resistive heating.

The only problem with the R4P at the moment is getting one. Dealers are marking them up by thousands.
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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.

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
I have made a report to the NHTSA that the 2017 Volt is a safety hazard because a car that is in drive and suddenly slides backwards, actually losing forward propulsion when on an incline, is a considerable safety hazard, especially when the steering is locked up at the same time. Fortunately, I was in a semi empty parking lot when this happened. It is very dangerous. They are supposed to send me something in the mail about my report, but I have not received it yet.
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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.

Ive been waiting on this part for over 4 months, with the incorrect part being sent three months into the ordeal. And I just purchased the car in November 2021. I had it for three months prior to it breaking, if that. It's a 2017 though. Did you have any luck with that warranty statement? Was it in the actual warranty or the voltec warranty? I am honestly at a loss of what to do at this point.
I have made a report to the NHTSA that the 2017 Volt is a safety hazard because a car that is in drive and suddenly slides backwards, actually losing forward propulsion when on an incline, is a considerable safety hazard, especially when the steering is locked up at the same time. Fortunately, I was in a semi empty parking lot when this happened. It is very dangerous. They are supposed to send me something in the mail about my report, but I have not received it yet.
This happened to me on a city street. Nobody was close enough for it to matter, but it was scary.
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.
I am on month 5 and would take a buyback at this point. I really don't know what to do. I also have a 2017 premier.
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Ive been waiting on this part for over 4 months, with the incorrect part being sent three months into the ordeal. And I just purchased the car in November 2021. I had it for three months prior to it breaking, if that. It's a 2017 though. Did you have any luck with that warranty statement? Was it in the actual warranty or the voltec warranty? I am honestly at a loss of what to do at this point.
I sent you a DM with more info. Sounds like we have the same car and same situation. 2017 Volt Premier purchased in Nov. 2021 with a bad BECM after 3 months. In replacing the BECM (after waiting two months) there's now another part that's unavailable and has no ETA. We've been waiting since Feb.

The warranty I was referring to specifically is the GM Certified warranty. What did yours come with?
It looks to me like the broader Voltec warranty that covers the battery components should include the BECM for 8 years/100k miles. It includes both "Battery Control Modules" and "Battery Charger Control Module."

I sent you a DM with more info. Sounds like we have the same car and same situation. 2017 Volt Premier purchased in Nov. 2021 with a bad BECM after 3 months. In replacing the BECM (after waiting two months) there's now another part that's unavailable and has no ETA. We've been waiting since Feb.

The warranty I was referring to specifically is the GM Certified warranty. What did yours come with?
I have no warranty I bought the car with over 100,000 miles on it used from a private party.
I am on month 5 and would take a buyback at this point. I really don't know what to do. I also have a 2017 premier.
This happened to me on a city street. Nobody was close enough for it to matter, but it was scary.
I have no warranty, I bought the car from a private party with no warranty - the car has over 100,000 miles on it. I haven't heard anything from the NHTSA. The local dealer gives me a different story every time I call about the part availability. But they seem to be able to get them, but say they are on backorder and now they are reserving them for customers who have towed their cars into their shop and are sitting in the shop waiting for the parts. Before this time they said I could have the car towed in when the parts arrived, but now they say the parts are only for cars they have already diagnosed and are already in their lot waiting. So I haven't bothered to tow it down there to leave it sit in their lot.
Is yours still running? I had mine towed immediately because it was dead as a hammer
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It is dead. Fortunately, I have other vehicles that are old but still run and are much cheaper to fix. I really liked that Volt and want to have it fixed, but after the Tesla down the street burned until there was nothing left but the frame, and my lithium ion battery in my 5G phone swelled up and ruptured the phone case, I'm getting concerned about driving around on top of a big pile of rechargeable lithium ion batteries.:)
It is dead. Fortunately, I have other vehicles that are old but still run and are much cheaper to fix. I really liked that Volt and want to have it fixed, but after the Tesla down the street burned until there was nothing left but the frame, and my lithium ion battery in my 5G phone swelled up and ruptured the phone case, I'm getting concerned about driving around on top of a big pile of rechargeable lithium ion batteries.:)
Sure, but how many Volts have had that issue? Seems very rare to almost non-existent.
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Sure, but how many Volts have had that issue? Seems very rare to almost non-existent.
Its even quite rare on Teslas... There are just so many of them on the road now (especially compared to Volts) and the few incidents are reported to much that it seems like a big problem.

Lithium batteries will always have some risk (I've worked on a few lithium battery powered consumer devices...), but the juice is definitely worth the squeeze. Would you rather carry around something that is DESIGNED to blow up, or something that can sometimes blow up? (that's the same argument that was used in the late 1800's and early 1900's about gas engines vs. electric.... ha!)

-Charlie
I took the car into the dealership on 6/6/2022 (13 days ago as of this post). 2016 Volt Lt

Another BECM failure here. Mine wasn't as catastrophic as others, I was seeing the shift to park issue intermittently and then my EV range would go from full to 0 in an instant causing the ICE to kick on. Took it to the dealer, they diagnosed as BECM failure, and said the part is back ordered and they have no ETA. They opened a case with GM which they said helps them find the part if other GM dealers have it but after reading all of these stories I'm doubtful I'll have my car fixed anytime soon....

Also in the same boat as others, dealer said they have no loaners, and I called GM support and they said they might (and were very specific about no, it is not being guaranteed) cover up to 46/day in rental car. I'm not sure why they wouldn't confirm coverage, but even if they did, 46/day doesn't even cover a sub-compact rental anymore.... That's barely more than half the amount needed. So we're down to 1 car, borrowing my in-laws car now and again when needed.
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It is dead. Fortunately, I have other vehicles that are old but still run and are much cheaper to fix. I really liked that Volt and want to have it fixed, but after the Tesla down the street burned until there was nothing left but the frame, and my lithium ion battery in my 5G phone swelled up and ruptured the phone case, I'm getting concerned about driving around on top of a big pile of rechargeable lithium ion batteries.:)
How odd. You aren't concerned about driving around with 10 to 20 gallons of highly flammable liquid in the back of your car?

One of the most frightening things I've ever seen was a pickup truck by the side of the highway, burning with huge angry red flames and rolling black smoke. Yet I willingly ride around in ICE cars, buses, vans, airplanes, boats...
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How odd. You aren't concerned about driving around with 10 to 20 gallons of highly flammable liquid in the back of your car?
Don't forget the fuel pump that pump that explosive liquid at 100psi (or higher, if direct injected) around the vehicle. The '67 Ford truck I drove in high school had the fuel tank INSIDE the cab, right behind the seat. Slosh, slosh, slosh...

-Charlie
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Don't forget the fuel pump that pump that explosive liquid at 100psi (or higher, if direct injected) around the vehicle. The '67 Ford truck I drove in high school had the fuel tank INSIDE the cab, right behind the seat. Slosh, slosh, slosh...

-Charlie
...inches from the cigarette lighter!
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
Safety problem as when fuse blows the car shuts down.
Drove mine on electric headed home low on battery, engine tried to kick on fuse blew car stopped dead one block from home, sat for about twenty minutes, residual charge let get home on electric where I could recharge it.
Funny they call that the get home circuit because when it blows you go NOWHERE without electric.
Safety problem as when fuse blows the car shuts down.
Drove mine on electric headed home low on battery, engine tried to kick on fuse blew car stopped dead one block from home, sat for about twenty minutes, residual charge let get home on electric where I could recharge it.
Funny they call that the get home circuit because when it blows you go NOWHERE without electric.
That's an EGR issue... but yeah.

-Charlie
My 1977 pickup caught fire once, but I was able to put it out with a garden hose. Used too much starting fluid in carburetor. Truck still running.

Volt still dead. I haven't bothered to tow it in because GM site shows BECM backordered and interesting that same parts site says that the ECM is not for sale. I don't think I will be buying any GM brand cars anytime soon.

I don't remember exactly now, but I think the car has not been working since February 2022
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