GM recalls vehicles over software update error


Warren, Mich. – June 29, 2018 – General Motors has recalled an estimated 3,233 vehicles after a recent update to the Hybrid Powertrain Control Module 2 could potentially disable the cell balancing function and result in a low-voltage condition. The recall affects select 2013 Chevrolet Volts, according to documents from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. The estimated figure of cars with this particular defect is 2 percent.

The Defect

Vehicles that received a software updated in a service procedure from a dealer may contain an error in the software update that could prevent the batteries from balancing the voltage in singular battery cells. Under certain circumstances, this may result in a low-voltage condition in one or multiple battery cells. The vehicle will notify drivers if the battery cells fall below a certain level and if the driver continues on the road after entering reduced power mode, the vehicle may lose propulsion. This incident may increase the risk of crash and injury.

Timeline of Events

A GM engineer sent in a Speak Up For Safety report on May 11 after finding that a software update used on select 2013 model-year Chevrolet Volt vehicles contained an error that could potentially prevent batteries in some of these vehicles from effectively balancing the voltage among individual battery cells, according to internal reports. Following this report’s submission, GM launched an investigation, where the investigator reviewed field data, which demonstrated elevated rates of the condition in the field for vehicles with this update.

Afterward, GM’s Open Investigation Review board reviewed the investigation June 6, and the GM’s Safety and Field Action Decision Authority ultimately decided further action was necessary and issued a safety recall for these vehicles on June 7.

GM notified dealers of this safety recall June 14 and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration June 20. Owners will receive recall details and dates will available.

The Solution

According to an internal communication, GM will notify drivers, while dealers will reprogram the Vehicle Interface Control Module module at no cost to the cars’ owners. A notification schedule has not yet been provided, but customers who own this vehicle will be notified by mail or can check their Vehicle Identification Number on GM’s website. Owners who want further information can contact Chevrolet customer service at (800)-222-1020. They can also call the NHTSA’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at (888)-327-4236.

Sean ReyesGM recalls vehicles over software update error