The Vermont State Police released this photo of the 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV that caught fire on July 1, 2021 in the driveway of state Rep. Timothy Briglin, a Democrat.
Vermont State Police
A Chevrolet electric vehicle owned by a Vermont state lawmaker who has backed the industry recently caught fire while charging in the politician’s driveway, according to Vermont State Police.
The vehicle, a 2019 Chevrolet Bolt EV, is part of a recall of nearly 69,000 of the electric vehicles globally due to fire risks that was announced in November by General Motors and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
State Rep. Timothy Briglin, a Democrat, told authorities the EV had been serviced for the recall in recent weeks, Vermont State Police Det. Sgt. Matthew Hill said Wednesday. That could mean the repair was not done correctly; it’s not a solution for the fires; or there’s another problem with the vehicle.
GM said in a statement sent to CNBC on Wednesday that company officials are “in touch with authorities to understand the specific circumstances.” They also have “reached out to the customer and are actively investigating the incident.” A spokesman for the Detroit automaker declined to comment further on the fire until the company has access to the vehicle and its investigation is complete.
Hill said he had not been contacted yet by GM regarding the incident, which he said occurred while the vehicle was plugged in to charge.
The fire is the most recent to highlight an ongoing concern of automakers and vehicle safety watchdogs as companies release an influx of new electric vehicles in the coming years. Automakers have continually touted the environmental benefits of EVs, however, the lithium-ion batteries that power the vehicles can be dangerous and result in significant chemical fires if something goes wrong.
The Biden administration has been a proponent of EVs, including the Chevrolet Bolt EV. The vehicle was featured in a video last week touting President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, expanding U.S. charging stations and converting the government’s vehicle fleet to EVs.
Briglin — who is chair of the state House Committee on Energy and Technology and has supported EVs, including co-sponsoring a bill relating to electric and plug-in hybrid EV incentives — did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Officials with the NHTSA and local fire department also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The fire was reported at about 9 a.m. Thursday at Briglin’s house in Thetford, Vermont, according to a release from Vermont State Police and public records. No injuries were reported.
GM recalled the vehicles in November over electrical fires it said were caused by
Some customers have balked at paying top dollar for new cars and have opted to make do with older vehicles. That has increased demand for parts and service, one of the most profitable businesses for car dealers. Many dealers have extended repair-shop hours. Mr. Ricart said he had some repair technicians putting in 10- or 12-hour days three or four days in a row before taking a few days off.
Of course, the shortage of cars will end, but it isn’t clear when.
As Covid-19 cases and deaths rose last spring, automakers shut down plants across North America from late March until mid-May. Since their plants were down and they expected sales to come back slowly, they ordered fewer semiconductors, the tiny brains that control engines, transmissions, touch screens and many other components of modern cars and trucks.
At the same time, consumers confined to their homes began buying laptops, smartphones and game consoles, which increased demand for chips from companies that make those devices. When automakers restarted their plants, there were fewer chips available.
Many automakers have had to idle plants for a week or two at a time in the first half of 2021. G.M., Ford Motor and others have also resorted to producing vehicles without certain components and holding them at plants until the required parts arrive. At one point, G.M. had about 20,000 nearly complete vehicles awaiting electronic components. It began shipping them in June.
Ford has been hit harder than many other automakers because of a fire at one of its suppliers’ factories in Japan. At the end of June, Ford had about 162,000 vehicles at dealer lots, fewer than half the number it had just three months ago and roughly a quarter of the stocks its dealers typically hold.
This month, Ford is slowing production at several North American plants because of the chip shortage. The company said it planned to focus on completing vehicles.
Mr. Ricart recently took a trip on his Harley-Davidson to Louisville, Ky., and got a look at the trucks and S.U.V.s at a Ford plant that are waiting to be finished. He said he saw “thousands of trucks in fields with temporary fencing around them.”
On Friday night, between 9 and 10 p.m., a 78-year-old woman died Friday after her bicycle collided with a pickup truck on County Road 512 in Sebastian.
Initially, the Sebastian Police Department said it was a hit and run homicide because the driver of the pickup truck, a 52-year-old man, left the scene, but later returned.
The collision occurred between Delaware and Easy Street on CR-512. The investigation is still active.
The cyclist and driver have not been publicly identified.
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Andy Hodges was born in Annapolis, Maryland, and grew up living on the Loxahatchee River in Jupiter, Florida. He has been a radio and TV personality since the mid-1980s. He has worked for WFLX-TV (Fox 29), WIRK, WLIZ, WIXI, WKSY, WRMF, and others. In 1994, Andy took a break from broadcasting and was a software and systems engineer for various companies in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2002, he moved back to Florida and settled in Sebastian, where Andy’s family has lived for over 45 years. He returned to the broadcasting sector in 2005. Andy joined Sebastian Daily as our editor-in-chief in 2016.