Chevrolet is presently reaching out in a “customer service program” alerting owners of 2013 model year Volts that their car is eligible for a free software upgrade to fix a possible anomaly that could cause the car to shut down.
The issue is not known to be pervasive, pertains only to 2013s, not 2011s or 2012s, and as a preemptive measure, GM is offering the service – not to be confused with a mandatory recall.
“We have received a few reports from owners that their electric motor has temporarily stopped working, resulting from a software anomaly when their vehicle is in the delayed time and rate charge mode,” said GM’s Kevin Kelly, manager, Electric Vehicle and Hybrid Communications. “We’re asking owners to bring their vehicles into their local Chevy dealer for a re-flash of the vehicle’s control system, which should take less than an hour. Until then, we’re recommending that customers switch to immediate or delayed time charging to avoid this inconvenience.”
The word relayed by Kelly was also to allay a few concerns and confusion expressed over the weekend on the GM-Volt.com forum. There, a 2013 Volt owner reported receiving a recorded phone message left for him by his dedicated “Volt Advisor” – Volt owners are assigned this go-between customer service rep to smooth the experience of owning GM’s new kind of plug-in car.
“Apparently the steering and brakes will still work, but you have to safely coast to a stop, turn the car off and then power it up again 2-5 minutes later,” wrote 1RiverMan1, “She indicated that the solution was a software update and I should take the car in as soon as possible. The update takes about an hour. If you have not had this message yet, check with your dealer.
GM has not used the term “safety issue,” but whether it could become one could be anyone’s guess if a 2013 Volt’s power spontaneously shut off – albeit with brakes and steering still operative – in the middle of heavy vehicle traffic. No accidents to date have been reported to have occurred, nor have Volt owners expressed much concern that they could.
But if you have a 2013 Volt, it is probably better not to delay the software update. Volt drivers wanting more info should contact their Volt-certified Chevy dealer, or Volt Advisor for details, and to arrange the service.
“We are confident this will fix the issue,” Kelly said. “There have not been other issues that have resulted in requiring 2013 vehicles return to dealers for a software update.”