Hyundai Motor will voluntarily recall its Kona electric vehicles as a possible short circuit because of what may be defective manufacturing of its high-voltage battery cells could pose a fire risk, South Korea’s transport ministry stated on Thursday.
Starting on October 16, the recall, which includes software updates and battery replacements following inspections, involves 25,564 Kona electric vehicles (EVs) constructed between September 2017 and March 2020, the ministry said.
The safety recall “is a proactive response to a suspected defective production of high-voltage batteries used in the vehicles, which may have contributed to the reported fires”, the automaker said, adding that it will deploy all required measures to identify the reason for the fire and address customers’ needs.
About 13 incidents of fire associating the Kona EV, including one each in Canada and Austria, have been documented, the office of ruling party lawmaker Jang Kyung-tae said.
Kona EVs use batteries that were made by LG Chem.
LG Chem said the exact reason behind the fire had not been figured out and a reenactment experiment conducted jointly with the automaker had not led to a fire, so the fires could not be attributed to defective battery cells.
It would actively participate in the future investigations with the automaker to discover the cause, LG Chem said.
Hyundai’s shares dropped 1.4%, reflecting investor concern regarding the recall and battery replacements that they could be costly, as the battery represents about 30% of an EV’s price, analysts said.
In contrast, LG Chem shares increased 1.8%.
The Kona Electric is Hyundai’s first long-range subcompact SUV EV.