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Hyundai Recalls 82K Vehicles Due To Battery Fire Risk

Hyundai Kona EV
Hyundai Kona EV Photo Credit: Hyundai

Hyundai is recalling tens of thousands of electric cars across the globe to replace batteries following more than a dozen reports of fires breaking out in vehicles in what is believed to be one of the most expensive auto recalls in history.

Approximately 76,000 Kona EVs manufactured between 2018 and 2020 and thousands of Ioniq EVs and electric buses built between November 2017 and March 2020 are subject to the recall due to reported fires related to the vehicles’ electric battery packs.

In total, approximately 82,000 vehicles are being recalled, which is expected to cost Hyundai approximately $900 million. It marks the second recall of the Kona EV, but is the first global recall.

Per-vehicle, the average cost of the recall is expected to be approximately $11,000 each, as the manufacturer is replacing an entire battery on every vehicle.

The recall was initiated following reports of at least 15 fires that sparked from the vehicles’ batteries dating back to 2019. No injuries have been reported.

According to reports, the issue has to do with materials that separate the cell’s cathode and anode, though an official investigation is still ongoing. A similar recall was issued by General Motors recently for Chevy Bolts that use the same LG Chem batteries.

Hyundai and LG Chem have decided to completely replace the batteries in these vehicles instead of trying to solve the issue through software updates, officials said.

The recall began in South Korea, but is expected to make its way to Hyundai North America.

“We are working closely with NHTSA and Transport Canada on the recall and will communicate the details to affected customers shortly,” the company announced in a statement.

LG Chem also issued a statement adding that “the fie was not recreated in the lab test, and the issue was an early mass production problem in Hyundai Motors dedicated line.”

The company said it "will further strengthen safety in all processes from product plan to manufacture and inspection."

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