Hyundai to recall 76,000 electric vehicles over battery fire risk
South Korea’s Hyundai, the world’s fourth-largest electric vehicle maker, has announced the recall of 76,000 electric vehicles worldwide to replace the batteries due to to the impact of electrical fires, following a series of similar recalls by other automakers.
The recall will affect Hyundai’s Kona EV model, as well as certain Ioniq EV models and electric buses built between November 2017 and March 2020.
The battery cells for these vehicles were manufactured at a factory in Nanjing, China, owned by Korean chemicals giant LG Chem.
The recall will cost Hyundai around $ 900 million, making it the most expensive recall of an electric vehicle, says Lee Hang-koo, advisor at Korea Automotive Technology Institute.
Hyundai and LG Energy Solution, the 100% owned battery unit by LG Chem, are discussing how they will share the cost of replacing the battery.
Last october, Hyundai recall 77,000 Kona vehicles to upgrade their batteries after some cars caught fire with similar battery issues.
The electric vehicle industry, already facing production hurdles due to the global shortage of semiconductors (a critical component of such vehicles), has been criticized for the safety of its batteries. The problem was highlighted earlier this month when a vehicle manufactured by Hyundai electric bus caught fire in South Korea during the operation, although no one was injured. Other automakers have embarked on similar recalls for faulty batteries. Last november, General Motors said he would recall nearly 69,000 Chevy Bolts (including 51,000 in the United States) following reports of at least five battery fires in vehicles between 2017 and 2019. These batteries were also manufactured by LG Chem. “Cell packs from affected vehicles have the potential to smoke and ignite inside, which could spread to the rest of the vehicle and cause a structural fire if parked inside a vehicle. garage or near a house, ”the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement at the time. Last October, BMW recalled nearly 27,000 plug-in hybrid vehicles (including 4,500 in the United States) for fear that batteries manufactured by Samsung could potentially short circuit and cause a fire. Last August, Ford recalled 27,000 of its Kuga plug-in hybrid vehicles for similar battery safety concerns after reports of at least four fires due to overheating high-voltage batteries. In June 2019, Audi recalled approximately 1,600 of its E-Tron model, its first EV in the United States, due to battery fire issues.
Earlier this year, the world’s largest electric vehicle maker, Tesla, recalled 135000 of its Model S and Model X cars, but that was due to issues with the touchscreen display circuitry.
“GM suffers from a similar problem, so Hyundai’s move will intensify feuds between electric vehicle makers and battery producers over who should be held responsible.” Chung Sung-yop, an analyst at Daiwa Securities in Japan, told Financial Times.