All Chevrolet Bolt EVs Recalled Due To Fire Risk! GM Says The Risk Is Low, But The Potential Exists.

All Chevrolet Bolt EVs Recalled Due To Fire Risk! GM Says The Risk Is Low, But The Potential Exists.

Explainer: Electric vehicle fire risk

Robert Austin

GM expanded the voluntary recall of its Chevrolet Bolt Electric Vehicles to include all of its remaining 2019 models and all Bolt models for 2020, 2021, and 2022 model years built thus far.  The company explained that the battery modules made for these cars by an outside supplier might have two manufacturing defects; a torn anode tab and a folded separator.  If these two defects are present in the same battery cell, they can increase fire risk. Out of an abundance of caution, GM will replace the defective modules in Bolt vehicles with new modules.  On July 23rd, GM had announced another recall on 2017 to 2019 Bolt vehicles for similar issues.  The first recall covered approximately 69,000 vehicles, while last week’s added about 73,000 to the total.

Doug Parks, GM Executive Vice President, said, “Our focus on safety and doing the right thing for our customers guides every decision we make at GM.  As a leader in the transition to an all-electric future, we know that building and maintaining trust is critical.”

GM informed its customers that until they receive replacement battery modules, they should follow these guidelines to reduce the risk of problems:

  • Set their vehicle to a 90% state of charge limitation using Target Charge Level Mode, and if the customer is uncomfortable making that change on their own, GM asks them to visit their dealer to have the adjustment made for them.
  • Charge their vehicles more frequently and avoid depleting their batteries below approximately 70 miles of remaining range.
  • Park their vehicle outside immediately after charging and avoid charging their battery indoors overnight.

GM has reminded the public that the actual number of fire incidents has been quite low. Industry sources estimate about nine fires thus far, but the company has taken this problem very seriously.  After investigations, GM found two manufacturing defects in some of the batteries made in the Ochang, Korea factory of LG.  Subsequently, further investigations showed those defects were also showing up in batteries produced in other LG plants, which triggered the second and expanded recall.  GM and LG are working to rectify the cause of these defects.  In the meantime, GM is pursuing commitments from LG to reimburse this corrective action and increase their rate of production of new and defect-free battery modules.

Are Electric Vehicles More Fire-Prone Than Their Gasoline Counterparts?

A buring EV

Some people seriously believe this will be the case!  They go so far as to say that the real question is not “if” electric cars will catch fire, but rather “when” they will catch fire.  Obviously, at this point, we do not have enough data to prove the case either way.  We have seen over the years that compact rare earth metal batteries can overheat and ignite in certain circumstances.  We first observed this some years ago when laptop computers became popular.  We seem to have addressed those problems, and no one goes around carrying a flame-proof computer bag.  I believe the risk is manageable.

When you consider that gasoline-powered cars routinely travel around with fifteen gallons or so of flammable liquids, it is very rare that you see or read about a car catching fire. It does happen, but not with the kind of frequency that makes us live in fear of driving.  But we should not forget that we have more than 100 years of experience in dealing with gasoline-powered cars and a relatively short history of dealing with electric cars powered by lithium and other rare earth metals.  So, undoubtedly, our expertise will grow very quickly in the next few years.

Fires are not that big a risk in automobiles, and fear of fire should probably not be your primary reason for not purchasing an electric car.  Why? Because as you are reading this report, there are numerous manufacturer’s recalls going on under the supervision of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for potential fires.  These are gasoline-powered vehicles, including the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans, the Ram HD Pick up, and the Kia Sportage/Cadenza. Despite more than 100 years of car building, there are still no perfect cars, and driving is inherently risky.  That is why staying alert and unimpaired, paying attention to the road and traffic conditions, and wearing a seatbelt are all good ideas.   Drive safely.

Car On a open road

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Afghanistan's Uyghurs Fear The Taliban, And Now China Too

An Afghan street vendor in Mazar-i-Sharif. The city is home to a small community of Uyghurs.
An Afghan street vendor in Mazar-i-Sharif. The city is home to a small community of Uyghurs.

Like millions of other Afghans, the country's Uyghurs are waking up to a different reality this week, one in which the Taliban is in charge.

Many of Afghanistan's Uyghurs - thought to number about 2,000 - are second-generation immigrants whose parents fled China many decades ago, long before the current crackdown began. But their Afghan ID cards still say "Uyghur" or "Chinese refugee."

Unlike some other potentially at-risk groups in Afghanistan, the Uyghurs do not have a state ally to work on their behalf, which might make them more vulnerable under Taliban rule.

Non-governmental groups are trying to get the Uyghurs out, but they face the same obstacles as everyone else.

All the Uyghurs in Afghanistan who spoke to the BBC said they had been effectively hiding at home since the Taliban seized the country, communicating only occasionally by phone.


ISIS Khorasan - ISIS-K (IS-K)

The group takes its name from the Khorasan Province, which once included wide swaths of Afghanistan, Iran, and Central Asia in the Middle Ages.

infograph Graphic News

IS-K initially emerged in Pakistan as an armed student group belonging to the umbrella organization, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Fearing persecution at home, they fled across the border to Afghanistan and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and I.S. chief Baghdadi in 2014.

IS-K and the Taliban have been locked in bloody battles with one another since then.

An ideological gulf separates the two militant groups. While the I.S. belongs to the Salafist movement of Islam, the Taliban adhere to the Deobandi school.

While the Taliban seems content — at least for now — with an emirate for themselves within Afghanistan, the Islamic State group in Afghanistan and Pakistan strives to establish a caliphate throughout South and Central Asia and has also embraced the Islamic State's call for a worldwide jihad against non-Muslims.

There is also the question of Sharia law and how it is interpreted. For IS-K, the Taliban's views are not strict enough. I.S. fighters have called the Taliban apostates and bad Muslims because of their willingness to negotiate a peace deal with the United States. By doing so, they betrayed the goals of the jihad, I.S. fighters said.

According to a July 15 U.N. report, IS-K has between 500 and 1,500 fighters in Afghanistan and has strengthened its positions in and around the capital, Kabul, where it carries out most of its attacks. The group hopes to broaden its ranks by recruiting disaffected Taliban fighters who reject the recent peace talks with the U.S.

IS-K is also counting on an influx of fighters from Syria, Iraq, and other conflict zones. In a June UN report, the world body estimated between 8,000 and 10,000 foreign fighters currently in Afghanistan.


China's Ruling Party Extends Purge Of Celebrities, Fan Culture

Chinese actress Zheng Shuang, now barred from social media sites over tax evasion charges, is shown in a file photo.
Chinese actress Zheng Shuang, now barred from social media sites over tax evasion charges, is shown in a file photo.

A famous actress has her social media account shut down and her work removed from public view amid concerns over fan club flame wars and celebrity culture.

"Cancel all-star artist lists along with all ranking lists involving celebrities," the Cyberspace Administration said in a directive posted on its official website on Friday.

Only rankings of movies and T.V. shows may remain, but with no stars mentioned, while the rankings should give less weight to online likes and comments and more to "professional evaluation." The directive came as actresses Vicki Zhao and Zheng Shuang were barred from social media sites, which deleted any content linked to the pair.

Zheng was fined nearly 300 million yuan (USD 46 million) for tax evasion and barred from appearing on entertainment shows. Meanwhile, Zhao, a brand ambassador for Fendi, has had her name removed from major entertainment platforms, and her account on Weibo shut down.

Zhao, who has courted controversy by wearing a wartime Japanese flag as a dress, has been designated an "inferior artist" by the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT).

China's internet regulators continue to crack down on the country's top tech companies, pulling the plug on a planned USD 35 billion initial public offering (IPO) of shares in Alibaba.


EU Will Make Bitcoin Traceable And Ban Anonymous Crypto Wallets In Anti-Money Laundering Drive

Bitcoin image

Cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, and Kraken could be forced to collect the details of people sending and receiving crypto under new rules proposed by the European Commission.

The proposed rules would require cryptocurrency exchanges to collect customers' identifying information, bringing them in line with the "Know Your Customer" (KYS) rules already imposed on other financial institutions.

The new law would also establish a new EU-wide anti-money laundering authority (AMLA) with oversight of cryptocurrencies by 2023.

Some crypto-asset service providers are already covered by the E.U.'s anti-money laundering and terrorism funding rules. The proposed law would apply these rules to the entire crypto sector, forcing service providers like crypto exchanges to do due diligence on their users.

In practice, this means that a service provider exchanging crypto on behalf of a customer would have to record their name, address, date of birth, account number, and the name of the intended recipient of the transfer.

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