- South Korea has issued a recall for more than 25,000 Hyundai Kona Electric crossovers over potential fires.
- Hyundai and battery supplier LG Chem have been unable to determine what is causing the fires.
- Hyundai is filing for a voluntary recall with the U.S. safety agency NHTSA.
UPDATE 2/24/21: Hyundai told Car and Driver that approximately 55,000 vehicles outside of Korea have been affected, and it is still finalizing the recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Details will be shared with U.S. dealers “shortly”. Hyundai says the total cost associated with the recall is around $900 million. Additionally, the Korean government found that the cause of the fires is from the possibility of short circuits in battery cells produced in LG Energy Solution’s Nanjing plant.
Vehicles, both gasoline and electric, are flammable. Whether it’s fluid or electrons, when heat is introduced in a way not intended by engineers there will eventually be flames. The Hyundai Kona Electric seems to have an issue with fires, and the South Korean government has issued a recall and Hyundai is filing for a US recall. The only issue is: no one knows exactly what’s causing the combustion.
Reuters reports that South Korea’s transport ministry and Hyundai have issued a recall of 25,564 Hyundai Kona Electric vehicles in that country built between September 2017 and March 2020. Starting on October 16, the vehicles in question will be inspected and their software updated and battery packs replaced.
The recall is in response to 13 unexplained Kona Electric fires worldwide, including one in Canada, of more than 100,000 vehicles sold. Neither Hyundai nor LG Chem, the maker of the battery cells, has concluded what is causing the fires. LG Chem says that both companies have conducted experiments to determine what is causing the combustion but have yet to re-create the scenario. It’s suspected that there is a possible short circuit occurring due to faulty manufacturing of the cells.
Hyundai said that the recall “is a proactive response to a suspected defective production of high-voltage batteries used in the vehicles, which may have contributed to the reported fires.” Car and Driver has reached out to the automaker for additional comment.
Hyundai told Roadshow that it was in the process of filing for a voluntary recall with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) here in the United States. There are no current recalls or investigations by the NHTSA in relation to the fires or battery packs. No word on how many vehicles this will affect. Hyundai and Kia already part of a large recall in the United States due to fire danger in older vehicles.
Other automakers including Honda, McLaren, Toyota, and Chrysler have also recently issued recalls concerning potential vehicle fires.
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