Talk about range anxiety: some models of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt are subject to a computer glitch that could cause the electric motor to unexpectedly shut down. Although customers can reportedly still use the steering and brakes to bring the Volt to a stop safely, the glitch means drivers must wait several minutes before being able to drive the Volt again.
The software glitch reportedly only affects owners who use the delayed charging feature built into the Chevrolet Volt. The problem affects about 4000 cars, and Chevrolet plans to reprogram the cars' computers to prevent the motor shut-off issue. Chevrolet claims the motor problem doesn't pose any safety risk, so it isn't issuing a recall of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt. The company hasn't received any reports of crashes or injuries due to motor stalling.
"We have received a few reports from owners that their electric motor has temporarily stopped working, resulting from a software anomaly when their vehicle is in the delayed time and rate charge mode," Chevrolet said in an emailed statement.
The delayed charging feature (pictured below) lets owners choose when the Chevrolet Volt begins recharging its battery. The idea is that the car might wait to recharge until late at night when a customer's electricity rates are lower. Chevrolet spokeswoman Michelle Malcho said that a "very small percentage" of Volt owners use this feature, so only a few customers have experienced the motor problem. She said that until the cars are reflashed, drivers can avoid problems by disabling the delayed charging feature.
Chevrolet says that reprogramming the Volt's computer to correct the problem takes less than an hour. The problem doesn't affect older versions of the Chevrolet Volt sold for the 2011 and 2012 model years.
Sources: The Detroit News, Chevrolet