That $6,000 Chevy Bolt Discount? There’s an Asterisk Attached
Yes, owners who bought a new 2022 Chevy Bolt EV or Chevy Bolt EUV may be eligible to get up to $6,000 back to match a price drop Chevy enacted after they bought their cars. But they have to sign away their right to join a class action lawsuit against the company to get it.
Background: The Bolts
General Motors makes a lot of electric vehicles (EVs) these days. The least expensive of them are a pair of hatchbacks called the Chevy Bolt EV and Chevy Bolt EUV (for electric utility vehicle, it’s essentially a stretched Bolt with more rear-seat room and cargo space for a slightly higher price). The Bolts use an older battery design than other GM EVs and come at a lower price.
Chevy recently cut the price of both Bolts by about $6,000.
That makes the Chevy Bolt EV sort of the least-expensive new electric vehicle (EV) in America. Sort of, because it’s $25,600 sticker price is lower than the current $27,400 sticker price of the 2022 Nissan Leaf. But the Leaf is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax incentive the Bolt brothers are not, so Leaf buyers often pay less in the end.
Background: The Bolt Fires
But the Bolts have a reputation problem. Problems with the Bolt’s batteries were blamed for a series of fires nationwide in recent years. After an escalating series of recalls trying to identify and fix the problem, Chevy last year agreed to replace the batteries of every Bolt on the road.
Battery supplier LG says it identified the issue, and the replacement batteries should be fine. The federal government’s primary auto safety watchdog hasn’t published reports of new fires since the battery replacements began.
But the Bolt remains, in the public imagination, the car most responsible for the impression some drivers carry that EVs are fire traps.
Background: The Lawsuit
A group of Bolt owners last year filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. district court for the eastern district of Michigan. The suit asks the court to order GM to “buy back or permanently and completely repair” the cars.
In July, Chevy announced that owners who had bought a Bolt in 2022, before the price cut, would be eligible for a $6,000 refund. The refund applied to any Bolt bought new in 2022, even if it was a model from a prior model year.
It looked like a straightforward goodwill gesture. But Bolt owners who’ve tried to take advantage are now reporting that there’s a caveat. Owners must sign an agreement not to join the Michigan lawsuit.
One Bolt owner provided the text of the agreement to Jalopnik. It requires the owners to “forever waive and release” their right to claims “arising out of or in any way relating to my Bolt vehicle(s), the battery defect, or the battery recalls.” It also requires the owner to sign away their right to participate in the Michigan lawsuit.
In a statement, GM said the agreement is limited in scope.
“The agreement for the reimbursement program does contain language that waives claims against GM and identifies existing litigation,” the company says. “This is a common practice when it comes to programs like this. It does not waive claims involving any potential recalls in the future.“