Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Electric cars make up less than 5% of new U.S. vehicle sales today — but automakers are betting on increasing demand. Chevy even plans to stop producing gas-powered cars altogether over the next 15 years, according to the Washington Post. But they also ponder the implications of this year's recall of the Chevy Bolt: The crisis involving the Chevrolet Bolt was a painful reminder for the auto industry that despite treating the electric vehicle era as essentially inevitable — a technical fait accompli — significant obstacles to manufacturing the cars, and especially their batteries, continue to threaten that future. "It's a terrible thing that has happened," Tim Grewe, GM's general director for electrification strategy and cell engineering, said in an interview in September... The recall of the Bolt covered all of the roughly 141,000 units GM had ever built. The company identified the issue as dual defects that led battery materials to make contact with one another and the components to combust spontaneously. It's a danger that comes directly from the core challenge of creating electric-vehicle batteries: the competition to pack more and more energy into them... Even as automakers seek to phase out gasoline engines en masse, high-voltage car batteries remain in their early stages of mass production. Many manufacturers are experimenting with new technologies and battery chemistries. While they do so, they are discovering defects — some of which can prove catastrophic.... Electric-car-battery explosions can release massive amounts of energy — and the fires can burn for hours, stretching longer and registering hotter than fires in cars with internal-combustion engines... LG, which has made batteries for the Bolt's entire run, is reimbursing GM for nearly $2 billion of costs associated with the recall.... GM has been hit hardest by fire concerns — but Audi and Hyundai also have recalled EVs over fire risks.