How to Fix Chevy Bolt Propulsion Power Is Reduced

How to Fix Chevy Bolt Propulsion Power Is Reduced

The “propulsion power is reduced” issue in the Chevy Bolt is commonly caused by decreased battery pack performance. This error message appears on the dash when the AC/DC converters are damaged or clogged. Some cases have been troubleshooting due to faulty alternators. To fix this, visit an authorized service center for diagnosis and potential repairs.

Reports about the “propulsion power is reduced” alert on Chevy Bolts are not strange, especially with new owners who bought the 2023 EUV (but it also happens with other year models of the Bolt EV).

A few months ago, my attention was called to this defect while traveling fast up steep mountain roads with the engine running. The eventual solution was to change the pump because diagnostics at the dealer confirmed that the “Transmission Fluid Pump” needed to be replaced, which is tallied with the OnStar error code P2797 that I got. However, I’ve encountered reports where other bolt owners had to replace faulty DC/DC converters or recharge battery packs to solve this error message.

If you’ve just observed this warning on your Bolt, you may be worried and confused about whether it’s a serious concern or a minor issue, especially if it’s just been a few days or months since you got the vehicle.

In the rest of this article, you will learn the common possible causes of “propulsion power being reduced” in Chevy Bolts, how to troubleshoot to confirm which is peculiar to your case, and what to do once you detect the problem.

4 Common Causes of “Propulsion Power Is Reduced” on Chevy Bolt (and Solutions)

When you get the propulsion power reduced message on your Bolt, the limited “borrowable” management of your car’s battery buffer is no longer sustainable. It’s often not a software problem. When this happens, here are the most common causes that you can begin your examination from:

CausesSolution Summary
Reduced battery pack performanceRecharge or replace the battery pack.
High-voltage cells have been clogged.Replace the low-pressure fuel pump.
Faulty wiring in the alternatorRewire the alternator, clean it, or use an external regulator. In the worst case, replace the alternator.
The AC/DC converter is malfunctioning.Replacement. 

1. Reduced battery pack performance

While you were driving, the high-voltage battery cells could have failed or gotten damaged. Due to the shorted high-voltage batteries, the car’s propulsion system’s power drops. Thus, the alert.

In other words, the battery performance is not delivering enough torque to the wheels. This is a common culprit behind this issue.

How to fix

  • The straightforward solution to “propulsion power being reduced” on the Chevy Bolt caused by reduced battery performance is to recharge the battery pack.
  • However, if you take your car for a proper checkup at your dealership, you may be advised to replace the cells in the battery pack.
  • If none of these resolves the issue, then the low-pressure fuel pump, not the battery, has malfunctioned.

2. The low-pressure fuel pump has malfunctioned.

When the low-pressure fuel pump of your Chevy Volt malfunctions, it causes the high-voltage cells to clog, thus preventing enough gasoline from entering the reservoir tank. When this happens, your car gets reduced propulsion power, and you’ll see the alert on the dash.

How to fix

  • The first thing to do is check the high-voltage cells. There are eight cells for the battery pack in Chevy Volts, and they should provide power for up to 2 miles when fully charged.
  • The problem is with the fuel pump itself if nothing is odd during your inspection. You need to replace it.

3. Wrong wiring in the alternator

Issues with propulsion power reduction are easily traced to damaged high-voltage battery packs. One way this can happen is when the alternator has the wrong wiring.

The alternator in every EV charges the vehicle as it drives. It sends power to the car’s electric system while the engine is on.

Unfortunately, you may be unable to detect this defect simply. This can be an issue when you take your car to an authorized repairer.

How to fix

  • The solution is to rewire the alternator. If you do it without help, check the wiring before altering it. As you do that, clean the terminals to rule out any hindrance causing the problem in the unit.
  • If this doesn’t solve the problem, two things are involved: you need to replace the alternator, or the problem is coming from somewhere else in the car.
  • An alternator repair costs around $375–$1,100, depending on the auto parts needing repair or replacement.

4. The AC/DC converter is damaged.

Besides regulating the charging process, Bolt vehicles’ AC/DC converter controls propulsion power output by converting DC into AC.

In some cases, experts have diagnosed damaged AC/DC converters as the root cause of reduced propulsion power in the Chevy Bolt. If this is your situation, your car’s volts drop when you accelerate but increase at low RPM.

How to fix

  • It needs replacement once you diagnose a damaged AC/DC converter as the root cause of the reduced performance.
  • It’s a delicate repair process that requires the attention of an expert.

Still no dice?

By the time you have tried all the above fixes, one of them must have solved the “propulsion power is reduced’ issue on your Bolt. However, if nothing changes, it’s a sign that you need to take your vehicle to your dealership.

They will run a proper diagnosis on your car and fish out the problem, and hopefully, any part diagnosed for replacement will be covered under warranty.

I wish you the best of luck.

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