EV Owner Needs Replacement Battery, Told She'll Have to Wait Four Years to Get It


An electric vehicle owner from rural Alaska found out that owning an EV is less than ideal when she was told it would take four years for her to get a replacement battery pack for her Chevy Bolt.

Patricia Atkinson, who lives in Sitka, in Southeast Alaska, a town so small and isolated it has no public charging stations, bought her electric car from a dealer in Seattle, Washington. She had to travel to Washington to buy the car because there are no car dealers in her small town. But recently she was told that her EV is the subject of a fire hazard recall that has affected around 140,000 Bolts.

Suffering through a recall is bad enough for residents of Sitka. The town is on an isolated island, 12 hours from the mainland on a boat that only comes once a month, according to industry website, Inside EVs

Also, because of the lack of dealers anywhere near the cold environs of Sitka, Atkinson would have to go to Juneau, Alaska, to have her battery replaced. So, the whole situation is a major ordeal. But, apparently, she will have plenty of time to make her plans after she was told that a new battery would not be available for four years.

The Juneau car dealer explained that it is not to blame. The manufacturer only allows the dealer enough supplies for eight battery pack swaps a month and with hundreds of EV owners on a waiting list for the repair, Atkinson’s slot is quite a few years down the road.

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Atkinson is faced with a major decision. Does she continue using her car despite the fire hazard, or does she store it and be without a car for the next four years?

The Juneau dealer’s limitation is not unusual. Atkinson called the Seattle dealer where the car was originally purchased, and they told her the same story noting that they also have a year’s-long waiting list. And this is even after General Motors claimed that it has already replaced 62 percent of the faulty packs in the 2017-2019 model years.

However, while GM may be doing well with those model years, it has replaced less than three percent of the battery packs in the 2020 and 2021 models.

The long wait is not just a problem for the Bolt that is under a recall. A shortage of battery packs is expected to grow, according to Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares, CNBC reported in May.

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“The speed at which we are trying to move (toward electric vehicles) is so high that the supply chain and the production capacities have no time to adjust,” Tavares said.

“The point is, when we want to move too fast with a big magnitude and there is not enough feasibility studies, we may be bumping on this kind of stuff,” Tavares added. “You’ll see that the electrification path, which is a very ambitious one, in a time window that has been set by the administrations is going to bump on the supply side.”

The problem is not new. Clean Technica reported in 2019 that “Electric car growth produces battery shortages, carmakers can’t match production with demand.”

The replacement of a battery pack is an expensive repair, no matter which make of EV you have. According to KTLA, the prices vary, but they seem to start around $9,000.

As the Biden administration continues to try and shove EVs down America’s throat, the TV station noted that hybrids such as the BMW i3, Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius, and Hyundai Ioniq cost anywhere from $9,000 to $11,000 to replace the battery pack. And the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model 3 will cost between $17,000 and $19,000. Other larger models can cost up to $18,000 to replace a battery pack, the station added.

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These costs are in some cases approaching the average cost of an entire used gas-powered car.

This is just one of the problems with owning an electric car.

The stories about EV failures are growing by the month. Just two weeks ago, for instance, an EV owner in Virginia found that his car would not charge in the frigid Christmas week weather.

Only days ago, another EV owner said that he has had so many problems with his Tesla Model 3 that he’d rather just bag the whole EV deal and go back to a gas-powered vehicle.

Last year a group of EV owners even hectored their neighbors to limit their use of electric so that EV owners would be able to charge their cars because the local electric grid wasn’t able to handle both home electric use, and home-based car-charging stations.

Minor inconveniences are part of life, to be sure. But the costs of replacing a battery pack is far from a minor inconvenience and it makes owning an EV a very expensive prospect.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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