82,000 Kona EVs, some other models affected by fire risk
Hyundai will replace battery packs in affected models
A new report from Seoul says that Hyundai plans to replace battery packs in more than 80,000 electric vehicles to deal with a risk of fire. A necessity that could cost the company nearly a billion dollars to solve.
The Reuters report says that 82,000 Hyundai vehicles, mostly the Hyundai Kona Electric, are affected by the recall. They have been recalled before, and a software upgrade applied, but after a subsequent fire, South Korean authorities reportedly launched a probe into the issue.
LG Energy Solution, the LG Chem division that builds the batteries, deflected criticism for the issue back to Hyundai. The company said in a statement that Hyundai misapplied LG’s suggestions for fast-charging logic in the battery management system, Reuters said, adding the battery cell should not be seen as the direct cause of the fire risks.
Hyundai declined to comment for the report, stating it would wait for the transport ministry’s probe into the issue. The estimated cost of 1 trillion won (US $900m, CAD 1.13B) is significant, and it’s predicted that Hyundai and LG will need time to work out any splitting of the cost between the auto manufacturer and battery supplier.
There have been 15 reported cases of Kona EV fires, including 11 in South Korea and two in Canda. Hyundai is advising owners to limit battery charging to 90 percent of capacity until it has been replaced, says the report.