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Don’t park them indoors or cost them unattended

Vermont State Police released this photo of the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV that caught fire in the driveway of State Representative Timothy Briglin, a Democrat, on July 1, 2021.

Vermont State Police

General Motors is instructing 2017-2019 Bolt electric vehicle owners that were part of a recent recall not to park their vehicles indoors or to charge them overnight unattended after two of the vehicles caught fire.

The two Bolt EVs were repaired as part of a recall of nearly 69,000 of the vehicles marked for fire hazard. The recall was originally announced in November by GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

One of the fires occurred while the vehicle was being charged at a Vermont state legislature’s home earlier this month. The other fire occurred in New Jersey, a GM spokesman said, adding it was briefed earlier this week.

“General Motors was notified of two recent Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicle fires that were resolved as part of the safety recall announced in November 2020,” the company said in a statement it emailed. “Out of the utmost caution, we ask owners of 2017-2019 Chevrolet Bolt EVs who were part of the recall population to park their vehicles immediately after charging and not to charge their vehicles overnight while we are investigating these incidents.”

The NHTSA said Wednesday that battery cell packs in the affected vehicles have the potential to smoke and ignite internally, which could spread to the rest of the vehicle and cause a structural fire if the vehicle is in a garage or near a house is parked.

According to the automaker, customers who have not yet completed the repair should still go to their dealer for the recall while the investigation continues.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

“Safety is a top priority at GM and we are acting as soon as possible to investigate this issue,” said GM.

The NHTSA opened an investigation into three reported fires involving Chevrolet Bolt EVs in October. The automaker is cooperating with the federal vehicle safety agency, said a GM spokesman.

Another Bolt EV that caught fire was reported by media reports in May, but not all recall repairs had been done on the vehicle.

GM said it bought back some of the recalled vehicles but declined to say how many. Automakers often buy back recalled vehicles to appease dissatisfied customers and avoid triggering state lemon laws and litigation.

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