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NHTSA Looking Into 73,000 Chevrolet Volts over Loss of Power

2019 Chevrolet Volt | Photo: Chevrolet
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Daniel Rufiange
Chevrolet stopped producing the Volt plug-in-hybrid car in early 2019

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the U.S. equivalent of Transport Canada, has opened an investigation into the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car.

The probe targets 73,000 2016-2019 models belonging to the second generation of the Volt. The NHTSA has received complaints from some owners who describe a sudden power loss and an inability to restart the vehicle, among other issues. 

The 61 complaints received has the NHTSA looking specifically at the Battery Energy Control Module (BECM). Several of the complainants reported having received no warning from the car prior to the sudden loss of power or the vehicle switching to reduced-capacity driving mode. 

Engine of the 2019 Chevrolet Volt
Engine of the 2019 Chevrolet Volt | Photo: Chevrolet

General Motors has already issued a technical service bulletin stating that if vehicles fail to restart, the BECM may need to be replaced and reprogrammed. It has not, however, recalled any models, NHTSA said.

Obviously, a vehicle that suddenly loses power or is unable to keep pace in heavy traffic can represent a safety issue for occupants and other road users. 

What’s more, some owners told NHTSA that they waited months or have been unable to obtain replacement modules after encountering this problem.

2019 Chevrolet Volt blue
2019 Chevrolet Volt blue | Photo: Chevrolet

One owner mentioned, for example, that their Volt couldn't go faster than 60 km/h on the highway “and would randomly stop working in electric configuration.”

The NHTSA probe could lead to a recommendation that Chevrolet issue a recall on the Volt models concerned.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists