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Hyundai recalls Kona EVs over battery fire risk

Hyundai recalls Kona EVs over battery fire risk


It will spend nearly $1 billion to replace battery packs

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Hyundai is finally recalling some 76,000 Kona EVs built between 2018 and 2020 after more than a dozen reported fires related to the electric SUV’s battery pack. It’s the second recall of the Kona EV, but the first global recall, and it will cost Hyundai around $900 million to perform.

Hyundai is also recalling some Ioniq EVs and electric buses built between November 2017 and March 2020 that use the same LG Chem cells. In total, the automaker is recalling 82,000 vehicles. Hyundai and LG Chem have decided to completely replace the batteries in these vehicles instead of trying to solve the issue through software updates, according to the Financial Times.

The recall is starting in South Korea, but Hyundai Motor North America told The Verge it will “be taking a similar action in the US and Canada.”

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

Reports of Kona EVs catching fire date back as far as mid-2019, and at least 15 have been documented since, including one vehicle that was already called in for repair.

The issue allegedly has to do with the material that separates the cell’s cathode and anode, though an official investigation in South Korea is still ongoing.

General Motors recently recalled nearly 70,000 Chevy Bolts that use LG Chem batteries after reports of fires, though the automaker clarified to InsideEVs that it uses a different cell than the one in the Kona EV.

News of the recall comes just one day after Hyundai unveiled the Ioniq 5 crossover SUV, which will be the first EV built on the company’s new electric vehicle platform. That platform will use battery cells from fellow Korean company SK Innovation as well as China’s CATL.