2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, brakes and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

There is an urgent recall on this vehicle. Find out if your Bolt is included in the recall.

The Chevy Bolt is General Motors first mass-production electric vehicle. Although the automaker previously produced the Volt, which is a hybrid, this is its first attempt at a true EV. Indeed, the electrified Bolt is novel in many ways. Among other innovative features, it packs a 60 kWh battery capable of producing a 238-mile range. But the new-fangled hatchback also comes with a list of problems, many of which stem from the fact it’s GM’s first legitimate EV. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Bolt’s main problem areas are the electrical system/propulsion, service brakes and visibility

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2020   2021   2022

Electrical / Battery

Some owners complain the Bolt exhibits a sudden reduction in battery charge accompanied by a loss of propulsion. One moment, the car displays a full charge; the next second, the gauge reads zero and the vehicle dies.

On the NHTSA website, one owner writes, “Driving at 65 mph with 100+ mile range, car had sudden and complete lack of propulsion. Electronics in the car continued to work, but absolutely no propulsion. Could shift car to neutral. Car eventually towed to dealer.”

The Bolt uses a lithium-ion battery built from 288 individual cells that are divided into 12 modules. A group of computers – including one called hybrid powertrain control module 2 (HPCM 2) – monitor the battery.

Initially, GM blamed bad software inside HPCM 2 for the unexpected lack of propulsion.A customer satisfaction campaign (18097–03) instructs dealers to reprogram the module to fix the problem.

But reprogramming didn’t solve the concern entirely. So, another campaign (17297-02) was published that calls for replacement of the battery pack.

The document reads, “Certain 2017–2018 model year Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles may have a condition in which the cells within the battery pack have low voltage. This condition is related to the state of charge of the cell group. Eventually, the difference in the state of charge of the cell groups (average vs. minimum) may exceed a threshold.”

According to the website Plugin Cars, just one faulty cell could result in a loss of propulsion. Although GM could service the cells individually, the manufacturer is playing it safe by replacing the entire battery pack.

2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Fuel/propulsion System
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Electrical System:12v/24v/48v Battery
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Service Brakes
Air Bags


Following that last fix involving the powertrain, it’s also clear that the troubles go beyond what’s already been illustrated.

One NHTSA complaint states “Got brand new vehicle on Sept 7th. On Sept 8th suffered loss of propulsion and inability to change gears. After driving for 20 minutes (50%+ charged) we reached our destination. I attempted to shift the vehicle to R in order to parallel park, however the vehicle was stuck with a message showing an inability to shift. We tried multiple times toggling the car on/off. After leaving for 10 minutes and trying again it worked, however with a Service Engine Light on. We continued to the grocery store. After leaving the grocery store and driving 10 minutes we suddenly while moving got a ‘Loss of Propulsion’ message. Pressing the acceleration pedal did not move the vehicle. We struggled to navigate to the side of the road after losing total power. We tried again turning the vehicle on/off being greeted with ‘Inability to Shift’ message. Eventually after 15 minutes it turned on and luckily we were blocks from a Chevy dealer. This was quite traumatic to go through with my mother-in-law and pregnant wife.”

In addition to this problem, Service Bulletin #080730026F points out that some vehicles move forward or rock when placed in Park. This action is combined with a clunking noise. The automaker claims that there is nothing to fear; this is a normal operation of the vehicle. Unless Bolt EV drivers don’t have a brain, many of them know that Chevy is making things up at this point. If the operation were so normal then drivers would have experienced the same action with every other car that’s been driven, but they haven’t.

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Service Brakes

When it comes to stopping, modern vehicles feature a lot of functions that are supposed to make the process easier than ever before. Yet, all that’s seen with the Bolt EV is more instability.

Another one of the NHTSA complaints says, “The Bolt EV has a dangerous design problem when using regenerative braking. You don’t have to use the brake pedal to slow or stop. The car slows in relation to how quickly you release the accelerator pedal. The brake light only comes on when the accelerator pedal is fully released. The car will stop quickly at that point with the brake lights on during the last few seconds until at a full stop when the brake lights turn off. The vehicle remains at a full stop without any brake lights on once your foot is off the accelerator. When stopped you have to hold the brake pedal to keep brake lights on to warn following cars. This needs to be addressed to give adequate notice of changes in speed to following drivers to avoid collisions.”

It turns out this isn’t the only braking defect on the Chevy Bolt EV. There was also a massive recall labeled with NHTSA Campaign Number 18V576000. Over 200,000 vehicles have rear brake caliper pistons with an insufficient amount of coating. This problem results in gas pockets forming, which hinders the brakes’ performance. It turns out the Bolt EV isn’t made for everyday driving after all unless you enjoy visiting the dealership, having poorly functioning brakes or not being able to move.

What Should You Do If Your 2019 Bolt Has Recurring Issues

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Chevrolet pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Daniel L

    Same exact issue.
    The vehicle was purchased under false pretense s.
    Marketing a vehicle with X mileage, and then because of a battery defect, you reduce the mileage capability by 10%, is simply false advertising. I want compensation!

  • Michael R

    I have a 2019 Chevy bolt. Love the car but…now I get a recall notice saying they want to reduce the range by 10%. Also I read that Chevy will not take it as a trade-in for resale as used. So that affects my resale value! Can I expect compensation from Chevrolet for these issues?

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