General

That $6,000 Chevy Bolt discount? An asterisk is attached

A 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV and a 2022 Chevy Bolt EV drive together on an elevated highway. Both cars are silver, and driving toward the camera at a slight angle facing to our left
A 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV and a 2022 Chevy Bolt EV drive together on an elevated highway.  Both cars are silver colored and drive at a slight angle to the camera facing leftLast month, Chevrolet announced an overwhelming good deed. This month we learned that it has something like an asterisk on it.

Yes, owners who purchased a new 2022 Chevy Bolt EV or Chevy Bolt EUV may be eligible to get back up to $6,000 to match a Chevy price drop after they bought their cars. But they have to waive their right to participate in a class action lawsuit against the company to get it.

Background: The Bolts

General Motors makes many electric vehicles (EVs) today. The cheapest of them are a pair of hatchbacks called the Chevy Bolt EV and Chevy Bolt EUV (for an electric commercial vehicle, it’s essentially a stretched Bolt with more rear seat 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’s what makes the Chevy Bolt EV kind of the least expensive new electric vehicle (EV) in America. A bit, because the $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 that the Bolt brothers don’t have, so Leaf buyers often end up paying less.

Background: The Bolt Fires

But the Bolts have a reputation problem. Problems with the Bolt’s batteries have been blamed for a series of fires across the country in recent years. After an escalating series of recalls to identify and fix the problem, Chevy agreed to replace the batteries on every bolt on the road last year.

Battery supplier LG says it has identified the problem and the replacement batteries should be fine. The federal government’s primary vehicle safety watchdog has not published any reports of any new fires since battery replacement began.

But the Bolt remains, in the public imagination, the car most responsible for the impression some drivers have that EVs are fire traps.

Background: the lawsuit

A group of Bolt owners filed a class action lawsuit in US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan last year. The lawsuit asks the court to order GM to “buy back or permanent and complete fix” the cars.

the exemption

In July, Chevy announced that owners who bought a Bolt in 2022, before the price cut, would be eligible for a $6,000 refund. The refund will be applied to any Bolt purchased new in 2022, even if it was a model from an earlier model year.

It looked like a straightforward gesture of goodwill. But Bolt owners who have tried to take advantage are now reporting that there is a caveat. Owners must sign an agreement not to participate in the Michigan lawsuit.

A Bolt owner provided the text of the agreement to: jalopnik. It requires owners to “forever waive and release” their right to any claims “arising out of or in any way related to my Bolt vehicle(s), battery failure, or battery recall.” It also requires the owner to waive his right to participate in the Michigan lawsuit.

In a statement, GM said the agreement is limited in scope.

“The refund program agreement contains language that waives claims against GM and identifies existing lawsuits,” the company said. “This is a common practice when it comes to programs like this. It does not waive any claims regarding possible future recalls.

We should note that the bolts use a different battery chemistry than newer GM electric cars like the Cadillac Lyriq and the upcoming Chevy Blazer EV.