Hyundai rolls out costly electric vehicle recall amid fire risk

Hyundai will replace battery systems in 82,000 electric vehicles due to fire risks in one of the first mass replacements conducted by a major automaker.

The move will cost around $900m and mostly concerns the Kona EV, Hyundai’s biggest-selling electric car.

The Kona EV was first recalled late last year for a software upgrade after a spate of fires.

One of the adapted vehicles caught fire in January, however, leading to a probe into the adequacy of the first update.

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‘Significant moment’

Lee Hang-koo, senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade, believes the recall is a significant moment in the early stages of the electric vehicle era.

“How Hyundai handles this will set a precedent not just in South Korea but also for other countries,” Hang-koo said.

The battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution deflected criticism, claiming that Hyundai misapplied its suggestions.

Hyundai declined to comment on LG Energy’s statement or provide cost details at this point.

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Shares tumble

The car maker’s shares fell 3.9 per cent amid the news, while LG suffered a 2.8 per cent hit.

The recall applies to nearly 76,000 Kona EVs built between 2018 and 2020, along with some Ioniq EV models.

Hyundai advised Kona and Ioniq owners to limit battery charging to 90 per cent of capacity until it has been replaced.


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