Hyundai recall will replace the lithium-ion batteries used in Konas, Ioniqs and Elec City buses.

Posted in Recalls

Hyundai Kona Electric Battery Recall Follows Fires
Hyundai recall will replace the lithium-ion batteries used in Konas, Ioniqs and Elec City buses.

— A Hyundai Kona Electric battery recall will be issued for more than 75,600 vehicles worldwide following at least 16 battery fires. Hyundai says it will need to replace the lithium-ion batteries manufactured by LG Energy Solution.

The Hyundai Kona Electric battery recall, expected to cost $900 million, will also include two other models equipped with LG batteries, including Ioniq Electric vehicles and Elec City buses.

This brings the total number of recalled Hyundai electric vehicles to nearly 82,000, with nearly 4,700 of those vehicles recalled in the U.S.

Hyundai says all the vehicles were built between November 2017 and March 2020.

The Hyundai Kona Electric battery recall follows a separate Kona Electric recall issued in October 2020 after reports of 13 fires allegedly caused by electrical short circuits in the lithium-ion batteries when they were fully charged. Many of those fires occurred while the SUVs were parked.

The October Kona Electric recall included 11,000 model year 2019-2020 SUVs in the U.S. and Canada, but Hyundai said at the time the root cause of the fires was still unknown.

Investigators would only say "electrical deficiencies" in the LG battery systems or the battery management software were the likely culprits. In addition to finding fires that occurred when the Kona SUVs were parked, investigators learned the batteries were fully charged.

While Hyundai and LG worked to find who and what was to blame, an interim repair was offered in the form of a software update to allegedly detect electrical abnormalities before the Kona Electrics could catch fire.

The update limited the maximum battery charging rate to 90%, but that idea didn't work out because investigators soon learned about a Kona Electric battery fire in a vehicle that had received the software update.

South Korean officials say results of their investigation showed problems with the battery cells manufactured by LG Energy Solution, owned by LG Chemical.

However, the company denied its battery cells were causing fires, leaving Hyundai and the battery company to argue who was to blame while trying to jointly investigate the root cause of the fires.

The idea to limit the battery charge to 90% its capacity will likely sound familiar to owners of Chevrolet Bolt electric cars.

Following reports of Bolts catching fire while parked and with the batteries nearly or fully charged, General Motors announced an interim recall repair to limit the Bolt batteries to 90% their charging capacity.

(This page was updated to reflect additional details provided by Hyundai.)


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