After a handful of reported Hyundai Kona EV battery fires, the automaker has issued a recall for potential fire risk in South Korea, where Hyundai is based. A total of 25,564 of the electric crossover vehicles have been recalled. Automotive News got confirmation from Hyundai that it will also conduct a recall for the electric cars in the United States. Hyundai has said it is in the final stages of filing a voluntary recall for the Kona EV with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
It is not clear how many vehicles will be included in the U.S. recall, but owner notices are expected to go out soon. In Korea, Hyundai said the fix for this problem will include software updates, but after vehicle inspections, some of the recalled vehicles may get brand new battery packs. Hyundai has remained silent on the possible battery issue after a reported Kona EV fire in South Korea this past May and another possible battery fire in Canada that led to an explosion.
Hyundai previously released a battery management software update following these incidents and did not comment on the fire investigations this past June. LG Chem supplies batteries for Kona vehicles and told Reuters in a statement a reenactment of the event leading up to the Korean fire did not produce the same result. This led the company to conclude that the battery cells were not the cause of the fire. The company still plans to investigate the issue with Hyundai.
According to Hyundai’s website, it decided to use a “lithium-ion polymer battery pack” for the Kona electric vehicles instead of the conventional nickel-metal hybrid batteries. The automaker says this provides “lower memory sensitivity and discharge efficiency along with outstanding maximum output.”
The Danger of Battery Fires
The nature and circumstances of the fires and explosions caused by these batteries are not yet known. We look forward to Hyundai announcing the recall in the United States and to getting more information about why these fires are occurring. Battery fires can of course be extremely dangerous, especially if the batteries have the propensity to explode. These types of incidents could result in major injuries and fatalities.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these or other vehicle defects, please contact an experienced auto defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights. You may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and emotional distress.