Courtesy of Chevrolet

Edmunds Bought A Chevy Blazer EV, Then The Problems Began

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Edmunds has added a Chevy Blazer EV to its stable of long term test vehicles. The company buys the cars it uses for that testing, unlike many other automotive news sites that finagle long term loans from manufacturers. That way, Edmunds gets an actual production car right off the assembly line instead of a car that has had all the rough edges smoothed by a team of post-production specialists. It also allows Edmunds to get an accurate read on precisely how much a particular car costs to own, including the actual purchase price and the precise amount the vehicle sells for at the end of a year.

The Chevy Blazer EV is one of the most highly anticipated new electric cars scheduled to go on sale in the US in 2024. SUVs are where the action is in the new car market. Chevrolet has chosen to discontinue the Bolt and Bolt EUV, which it says will be replaced with a new Bolt based on the Ultium platform that will underpin all new electric vehicles coming from General Motors in the next few years.

The Bolt suffered from woefully slow charging speeds. When connected to a DC fast charger, it could only accept a maximum of 55 kW of power. Presumably the new model, which will be more SUV than hatchback sedan, will be a better road trip car than can make use of the latest EV fast chargers. Until the new Bolt gets here, GM is leaning heavily on the Equinox EV, which is supposed to start at around $35,000, and the Blazer EV, which is supposed to start at around $45,000, to be its entry level models for EV buyers.

That’s the plan. The reality is that while a $45,000 Blazer EV may be available at some point, for now the starting price is almost $12,000 higher. Edmunds hasn’t revealed what it paid for the car but somewhere around $57,000 seems realistic. At this point, you might expect rave reviews of the new Blazer EV, but instead, it has been a nightmare experience that has kept the car in a dealer’s service department for two weeks with no end in sight. For a car that is only two months old with less than 2000 miles on the odometer, that’s distressing.

Chevy Blazer EV Enters Edmunds Long Term Test Fleet

Courtesy of Chevrolet

Recently, Edmunds staffers got eight different warning message from the Blazer EV in the course of a single day. “In just one trip from Los Angeles to San Diego and back, the Blazer EV went from perfectly fine to totally on the fritz. And that’s only the beginning,” Edmunds says.

The trip to San Diego was to attend a media event for the Chevy Blazer media event. Along the way, “the window switches refused to work. Then the infotainment display completely melted down, stuck in an infinite loop of shutting off, turning on, displaying a map centered in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and turning back off again. It did this until we pulled off the freeway and restarted the car. All was well after the reset, but an hour later, it happened again.

Then things got worse. On the way back to LA numerous errors messages popped up, saying things like “service vehicle soon,” “service high-voltage system” and “service 12 volt system.”  After shutting off the Blazer EV and letting it sit for a while, the touchscreen went blank and another error message popped up that said “unable to charge — service charging system.” The car was not plugged in at the time. At that point, Edmunds says the Blazer displayed a little turtle icon and showed, “reduced acceleration — drive with care.” Then one-pedal driving stopped working, and auto hold was no longer available. The decision was made to bring the car to a Chevrolet dealer, where the car stubbornly refused to display any error messages.

“Considering this all occurred over the span of about 24 hours, we knew we had to get the Blazer into service. But the next day, none of the error messages displayed. A bit flummoxed, we took our Blazer EV to the dealership to see if all of this was a red herring or if something really was wrong. What we got back from the dealer was alarming: the single longest list of major faults we at Edmunds have ever seen on a new car.

“As of this writing, our Blazer EV has 23 different issues that need fixing, more than a few of which we consider serious. The car has been at the dealer for two weeks so far, and we still don’t know when or how the fixes, repairs or updates will be implemented. The dealership has told us that an engineer from GM and a technician from a different dealership have been working on the Blazer, but we haven’t heard specifics on what it is they’re working on and still don’t have an estimate of how long it will take until everything is resolved. Credit where it’s due though. We appreciate that Chevrolet has worked to bring in support from two people who don’t normally work at that dealership to try and help solve our Blazer’s problems.”

Error Code List For Blazer EV

Here is the list of items that needed repair supplied to Edmunds by the dealer:

  • Short Range Radar Rear Sensor – Middle
  • Body Control Module (Lost Communication with Rear Side Door Window Switch – Left)
  • Body Control Module (Lost Communication with Rear Side Door Window Switch – Right)
  • Drive Motor Control Module
  • Drive Motor Control Module (Lost Communication with Serial Data Gateway Module on CAN Bus 2)
  • Drive Motor Control Module 2 (Lost Communication with Serial Data Gateway Module on CAN Bus 2)
  • Radio (Head-up Display, General Electrical Malfunction)
  • Battery Energy Control Module (Lost Communication with Serial Data Gateway Module on CAN Bus 2)
  • Side Obstacle Detection Control Module – Right
  • Radio (Invalid Data Received from Serial Data Gateway Module)
  • Body Control Module (Invalid Data Received from Serial Data Gateway Module)
  • Driver Seat Adjuster Memory Module
  • Side Obstacle Detection Control Module – Left
  • Radio
  • Body Control Module
  • Brake System Control Module (Lost Communication with Radio on CAN Bus 5)
  • Battery Energy Control Module (Invalid Data Received from Serial Data Gateway Module)
  • Battery Energy Control Module (Air Conditioning – Refrigerant Charge Low)
  • Drive Motor Control Module (Hybrid/Electric Powertrain Control Module 2 Requested Malfunction Indicator Lamp Illumination
  • Radio (Ethernet Bus 2)
  • Body Control Module (Inside Air Temperature Sensor Signal)
  • Body Control Module (Windshield Rain Sensor)
  • Battery Energy Control Module (Lost Communication with Lighting Control Module)

The Takeaway

Blazer EV interior
Courtesy of Chevtolet

Edmunds very charitably says it hopes the issues with its car are not indicative of what other owners can expect. While that may be true, having their experience shared on the internet must be the last thing Chevrolet wants as the roll out of the Blazer EV begins. More than anything, Edmunds’ experience makes it clear that manufacturing an electric car involves quite a bit more than ripping out the conventional powertrain and shoving it an electric motor and a battery pack.

Perhaps the most troubling part is that this car was allowed to leave the factory with all of these faults undetected. Chevy is really going to have to pick up its game as its transition to electric cars continues.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."

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