Chevy Bolt “Unable To Charge” Message

How to Fix Chevy Bolt Unable To Charge

The “unable to charge” error message on the Chevy Bolt EV dashboard is often caused by a loose connection or a faulty charging station. However, more complex issues with the car’s battery or charging system can also be the culprit. To get your Bolt EV charging properly, inspect for these problems and troubleshoot them.

Many of the calls I’ve received as a certified EV technician here in Arizona have to do with charging and battery-related complaints. Many Bolt EV owners tell me that the “Unable to charge” message pops up on the dash, mainly when the charger is used.

If this problem sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. It could be that even your L1 and L2 chargers at home have the same issue as any public ChargePoint charger.

According to the Chevrolet 2022 Bolt EV manual, the vehicle not charging could easily be associated with the ‘Charging Unit Control Module’ problem. However, that’s not always the case.

Having diagnosed and troubleshooted dozens of Bolt EV charging problems here at the workshop, I combed through the various related incidents shared on Bolt EV forums and have prepared this article to share with you the most common issues in the Chevy Bolt that cause the “Unable to Charge” error message.

I will also walk you through the simple steps to ensure hassle-free charging without necessarily going back and forth with Chevy technical support.

5 Common Causes of the “Unable to Charge” Error Message on Bolt EV (and Solutions)

In some cases, the “unable to charge” error message could be accompanied by additional errors like “Charge Cord Not Fully Inserted” or “See Charge Station.” In such situations, it’s easier to identify the source of the problem.

But when you only see the “unable to charge” error, here are the most common causes:

  • The connector is not correctly plugged in.
  • Dirt and debris
  • Worn-out connectors
  • Issues with Emporia Chargers (if that’s what you use)
  • Battery-related issues

1. The connector is not correctly plugged in.

The first place your mind should go when your Bolt EV refuses to charge correctly is the connection. Is the connector adequately plugged in?

Sometimes, you’ll need to apply extra force when inserting the connector so that you hear the audible click to confirm the connector is locked in place.

I’ve been to some public charging stations where they use heavier cords that pull down on the charging plug. Check if this is so at your charging location because it would make getting a good connection a little more complicated.

Solution

If that’s the case, park closer to the station and lift the handle while it initializes so that it connects properly. Alternatively, wait for the error message to pop up, then remove and reinsert the charge plug—this time, properly—into the car’s charging port.

If this doesn’t bring any change, you’ve ruled out the possibility of a poor connection. It’s time to look elsewhere.

2. Dirt and debris

EV chargers are sensitive to dirt and debris. Over time, if these elements have accumulated on your vehicle’s charging port, it could lead to poor connection, and the Bolt would detect this and flag the “unable to charge message.”

Also, a dirty charging station can impede the efficient flow of electricity, leading to slower charging times or even malfunctioning the station. So before you start probing into the possible technical issues behind your car’s “unable to charge” error, don’t overlook dirt and debris.

Solution

  • Check and see if there’s anything you need to clean off.
  • Also, inspect for any broken pins on your car’s charging port. If you detect it, it means a replacement is necessary, and it will require that you contact your dealership.

3. Worn-out connectors

Another common issue with Bolt EVs that causes the “unable to charge” error is worn-out connectors. It’s a possible cause of this problem, especially if you’re using a public charging station.

When using a third-party Level 2 charger, remember that it may have been set to only charge during off-peak times.

In other words, once your car detects a connected charger but no electricity is supplied, you will see the ‘Unable to Charge’ error message on the dash.

Solution

  • Consider another charging station.
  • If the issue is with your home charger, try resetting the circuit breaker it’s connected to.
  • I have had success with some owners where I recommended disconnecting the 12-volt battery for two minutes to reset the latch and resold the issue. So if the metal latch on top of the car’s charging port is in the locked option, try resetting it.

4. Issues with Emporia Chargers (if that’s what you use)

If you have the “unable to charge” issue on your Bolt EV while using an Emporia charger, there could be more than meets the eye.

Bolt EV owners who install the 240V charger that delivers >40 amps to the car may have a problem getting this particular one to charge. If this is similar to your situation, it’s the charger problem, significantly when the vehicle happily charges with the following 120V charger.

The car reads “unable to charge” when you insert the Emporia charger because you’re trying to make the necessary configurations and setups using the Emporia mobile app.

Solution

  • According to the Emporia installation and usage guide, the Bolt EV will not charge until you raise the charge rate to match your breaker size. So, return to the Emporia App, choose “Add a Device” under “Manage Devices,” and follow the instructions to set up the EV charger.
  • Also, confirm that the latch is not pressed down during charging because it automatically stops charging.

Battery-related issues could also be the culprit behind the “unable to charge” message in a Chevy Bolt.

At this point, your mind should go toward problems like:

  • Faulty battery management system
  • Battery temperature affects the charging process.
  • Depleted battery 

All of which require the expertise of a professional. 

It means your battery has to be inspected to pinpoint the actual source of the problem that interrupts the charging process.

After reviewing the warranty section of the Chevy Bolt manual, I realized that components such as the battery control module, DC power control module, high-voltage battery disconnect module, and battery charger control module are covered by warranty.

So if the problem emanates from any of these areas during diagnostics at your dealership, you can expect a free replacement.

However, some Bolt owners who experienced “unable to charge” issues have reported that the diagnosis eventually revealed ‘Power Line Communication Module’ has a culprit, which is not covered by warranty.

Key Takeaway

Several underlying problems can cause issues with charging a Bolt EV on the L1 or L2 charger station.

In some cases, all you have to do is reinsert the connectors or remove debris. But if nothing changes, you could be looking at a problem that requires the replacement of parts such as the charge port, fuse, or even the battery.

“Unable to charge message” is a widespread issue discussed in many Bolt EV owner’s forums. A few years ago, it was reported as a leading problem with buying from the lineup.

Fortunately, few defects cause this problem, so it’s often easy to pinpoint. The five areas discussed in the above article have been the common culprits, and I’ve shared some steps to troubleshoot them.

If none of these solutions worked for you, I recommend you contact Chevrolet technical support for further assistance.

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