"They're not the typical GM customer. They really like the Bolt. They really like having an EV and they want to see if they can see this through and have GM work on solutions to fix problem," Maas said. "Dealers are hopeful that GM resolves this problem quickly and maybe comes up with some loyalty program or some other thing to encourage consumers who've got a Bolt … to stick with the brand going forward."
Across several online forums, some customers have been rooting for GM, while others are desperate for the company to buy back their Bolt so they can get another brand's EV.
Many customers have praised the Bolt for its performance and are frustrated by the limits being put on its use while they wait for a repair.
"It's so zippy and it's just a really fun car. I like the shape. I like the spaces of it. I think it's a great vehicle," a Minnesota woman who has a 2019 Bolt told Automotive News.
Still, after the recall had dragged on, she wanted to get out of the car she loves so much. She has a 160-mile round-trip commute three or four days a week, and she restricted her charging to 90 percent in accordance with GM's guidelines. She was rejected for a buyback in April but continued to appeal. She asked not to be identified because GM is still processing her repurchase request.
She expects to receive an offer from GM this week, but the path to get one has been chaotic. From April through September, she worked with a handful of representatives who opened four separate case files, she said.
Lemon laws in most states don't protect Bolt customers coping with the recall because GM hasn't yet made a repair available. The module replacements GM outlined last week are slated to begin in mid-October. Lemon laws require multiple attempted repairs under the manufacturer warranty.
"We get a lot of inquiries from people who are concerned about their safety, but they haven't experienced any issues," said Jessica Anvar, managing partner and founder of the Lemon Law Experts. "We can't help them, unfortunately. Their only recourse is to do the recall updates as prescribed by GM."
Most state lemon laws can be violated when a repair takes too long or has to be done too many times for the same issue, or when a company refuses to fix a defect, said Shalev Amar, owner of Amar Law Group in Arizona. In this case, just figuring out how to do the repair has been the holdup.
"GM is basically just saying to people, 'Just bear with us,' " said Amar. "You can't just stop using your vehicle. You have to get to work. You have to pick up your kids for school. You might want to take a trip. All these things are just being circumscribed by this issue. Life doesn't stop."
GM last month expanded the recall of the Bolt EV and EUV to include all model years. The recall is costing GM some $1.8 billion, though much of that likely will be covered by battery supplier LG Energy Solution. Dealers are not permitted to sell any unrepaired Bolts.
The fire risk relates to Bolt batteries manufactured by LG Energy Solution with two manufacturing defects in the same cell: a torn anode tab and a folded separator.
After vehicles get replacement battery modules or new software and a clean diagnostic report, GM says customers will be able to drive them normally and charge them fully rather than to just 90 percent.
A Chevy spokesman declined to elaborate on the difference between the latest software update and an update GM issued in April that failed to stop the fires.
"We will provide more specifics related to the software as we get closer to launching it, but the main item to note is that it will enable customers to resume using 100 percent of their previous battery capacity," the spokesman said.
GM will replace all modules in the 2017 through 2019 models, but only defective modules in newer Bolts. Batteries with new modules will have a warranty of up to eight years or 100,000 miles, GM said.
The Minnesota Bolt owner who spoke with Automotive News doesn't want to wait for the repair. If she gets a repurchase offer, she already has her next EV lined up.
"We're getting a Tesla Model 3 Long Range all-wheel drive," she said. "My commute will be pretty happy."