This is prompted by multiple recalls from a number of automakers, mostly due to a risk of fire
GM, Stellantis, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Hyundai have had to recall some of their vehicles equipped with LG batteries
This investigation seeks to find and rectify the cause of the manufacturing defects found in many LG batteries
Following many recalls from different automakers in the last two years, the NHTSA is launching an investigation into LG Energy Solutions (LGES), a major supplier of EV batteries.
LGES was brought under the spotlight with the massive recall of the Chevrolet Bolt last year, when General Motors had to replace the battery in almost every single unit of the Bolt that had ever been made after a dozen of the electric hatchback had caught fire.
The cause of these incidents has been determined to be a manufacturing defect on the part of LGES, which supplied General Motors with the batteries.
Less well known, however, is that there have been a couple of other recall for very similar problems involving LG batteries.
Indeed, in February 2020, Mercedes-Benz recalled a single unit of the Smart Fortwo EV after it was determined its battery was defective in a way that increased its risk of catching fire.
In October of the same year, Hyundai recalled the Kona Electric after discovering that its LG supplied battery was at risk of having sustained damage during assembly that could cause a fire.
Exactly a month later, GM notified the NHTSA that certain units of the Chevrolet Bolt had been assembled with a defective battery. This recall was expanded to include every Bolt ever made after about a dozen caught fire.
In March of 2021, Hyundai launched another recall for the Kona Electric and the Ioniq due to manufacturing defects in the battery.
In February of this year, Stellantis notified the agency of a risk of fire in the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid after 12 of them went up in flames. The automaker has yet to determine if the battery is the cause of this problem.
Finally, Volkswagen found a manufacturing defect in the LG batteries that equip the ID.4 less than a month ago. According to the automaker, the batteries have insufficient soldering points, which could result in unreliable connections that could cause the vehicle to stall while driving and increase the risk of accidents.
In order to prevent the same manufacturing defects from persisting and affecting other vehicles, the NHTSA will look at how LGES manufactures its batteries to understand where the defects are coming from.