Chevy is offering rebates to customers who bought the all-electric Chevy Bolt before the company dropped the price for the 2023 model, but the payments will come with a cost.
According to Engadget, customers who wish to apply for a rebate must “forever waive and release” any right to sue General Motors or LG regarding the Bolt’s battery.
The Bolt has been plagued by reports of battery fires since 2017. GM first recalled the vehicle in 2020 following multiple reports of batteries catching fire between 2017-2019, Engadget reported.
General Motors issued a software update in April 2021 in an attempt to fix the battery problems, but two more fires reportedly occurred after that.
In July 2021, a Vermont state lawmaker was charging his Chevy Bolt at his home when the battery caught on fire, CNBC reported.
A GM spokesman told the outlet the second fire occurred in New Jersey. As a result of these two fires that occurred after the software update, General Motors issued a chilling warning to owners of Bolts manufactured between 2017-2019.
“General Motors has been notified of two recent Chevrolet Bolt EV fire incidents in vehicles that were remedied as part of the safety recall announced in November 2020,” GM said in a statement, according to CNBC.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking owners of 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt EVs who were part of the recall population to park their vehicles outdoors immediately after charging and not leave their vehicles charging overnight while we investigate these incidents.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said at the time the batteries in these vehicles could catch fire internally and spread to the rest of the vehicle. If it was in a garage or near a house, the NHTSA warned it could lead to a structure fire.
GM issued another recall in July 2021 and replaced the battery packs.
“The brand eventually recalled all manufactured Bolts, pledged an additional $1 billion for battery replacements and offered an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on substitute batteries,” Engadget reported.
Following these issues, Chevy has attempted to rebuild trust with its customers by slashing prices.
In June 2022, the company announced the 2023 Bolt EV would start at $26,595, which was $5,900 less than the 2022 starting price, Engadget reported in a separate article.
Meanwhile, the Bolt EUV, the SUV version of the electric vehicle, started at $28,195. This was a decrease of $6,300 from the previous year’s models.
In addition to those decreases, Chevy offered rebates to those who bought 2020, 2021 and 2022 models this year before the announcement of the 2023 price drop. These rebates are contingent upon a customer’s willingness to waive his rights to sue GM should he encounter battery issues.
— IdealMagnetSolutions (@idealmagn3t) August 3, 2022
By offering rebates and including this contingency, Chevy seemed to be tacitly admitting the problems with Bolt batteries were legitimate.
Multiple social media users took issue with Chevy offering rebates only to customers who commit to not suing them.
“That is disgusting,” one user wrote. “Also from the same strategy bin: ‘we pay you to not sue us over faulty ignitions when you crash.'”
That is disgusting. Also from the same strategy bin: “we pay you to not sue us over faulty ignitions when you crash”
— Martin Galway (@martin_galway) August 2, 2022
Another user said the rebates amounted to “hush money.”
Hush money ?
— Kay Elle (@KenLy8) August 2, 2022
In any case, the 2023 price drop and the rebate offers seem to suggest the value of the Chevy Bolt is dropping rather than increasing.
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