On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Hyundai is going to recall its Kona EV due to problems with the battery pack. In total, around 82,000 Kona EVs will have to be recalled globally after 15 fires—11 in South Korea, two in Canada, one in Finland, and one in Austria—in order to have replacement battery packs fitted. Until the recall is performed, the automaker advises owners not to charge their Kona EVs beyond 90 percent.
In October 2020, the OEM issued the first recall for the Kona EV, affecting more than 37,000 vehicles in South Korea and more than 11,000 in North America and Europe. The cause was the risk of a short circuit in the battery, which could potentially start a fire. At the time, South Korea’s transport ministry suggested that a manufacturing defect could have been the cause, something that cell manufacturer LG Chem denied.
Those cars were issued new software, but in January of this year, a recalled-and-upgraded Kona EV caught fire.
Hyundai will issue a new recall for a little fewer than 76,000 Kona EVs built between 2018 and 2020, as well as some Ioniq EVs. This fix is more radical, involving a whole new battery pack for each car. Consequently, the recall is going to be expensive, at an estimated $900 million (1 trillion won).
According to Reuters, LG Chem said in a statement that “Hyundai misapplied LG’s suggestions for fast-charging logic in the battery management system, adding the battery cell should not be seen as the direct cause of the fire risks.”
Hyundai chose not to comment, but the South Korea transport ministry told Reuters that defects had been found in some cells that were produced at LG Energy’s factory in China.
In November 2020, Chevrolet initiated a recall for some Bolt EVs after five fires. The affected Bolts also use LG Chem cells, although those are from a South Korean factory.