Hyundai expands Kona EV recall plan to cover North American, European markets

Hyundai expands Kona EV recall plan to cover North American, European markets

South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor’s recently announced recall of Kona electric cars over battery cell fire risks has now been expanded to cover North American and European markets as well. Last week, Hyundai announced a voluntary recall of a total of 25,564 Kona electric vehicles (EVs) in its home country. The recall plan was launched following multiple reports of fire in batteries of the electric vehicle during charging, predominantly to fix a possible technical glitch that could be the reason behind the fires. Some suggested that faulty manufacturing of the high-voltage battery cells could possibly be causing short circuits, posing fire risks.

While the recall was initially launched for 25,564 Kona EVs in South Korea, now it has been expanded for nearly 51,000 more vehicles in North American and European markets. China and some other Asian countries have also been included in the recall plan. Therefore, the total number of Kona EVs affected by the recall has almost tripled from the initially announced figure.

According to the latest recall plan, the South Korean auto giant will recall a total of 37,366 Kona EVs in various countries across Europe, while 11,137 vehicles will be called back in North American markets. The company also confirmed that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would soon be informed for the planned recalls of Kona EVs in the United States.

Confirming its plans, the automaker said in a statement, “Hyundai is in the final stages of filing a voluntary recall notice with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for U.S. Kona EVs and will start the process of informing owners of these vehicles.”

LG Chem Ltd, the supplier of the batteries for Kona EVs, claimed that it conducted a re-enactment experiment jointly with Hyundai and found that faulty battery cells weren’t the cause of fires in the EVs, and stressed that the exact cause of the fires had yet to be determined. After the recent expansion of the recall of the Kona EVs, the battery supplier declined to make any additional comment.

Recalled Kona EVs will undergo software updates and get their batteries replaced after inspections. As per KB Investment & Securities, the recall will likely cost the carmaker as much as 600 billion won (US$522 million).

Following the announcement of expansion of the Kona recall plan, shares of Hyundai and LG Chem slipped 0.8 per cent and 2.0 per cent, respectively, while the broader KOSPI market gained 0.3 per cent.