Hyundai Motor will replace battery systems in some 82,000 electric vehicles worldwide because of fire risks – a costly $900 million recall that lays bare the thorny issue of how vehicle and battery makers split the bill when problems arise.
The recall is among the first mass battery pack replacements carried out by a major automaker.
The recall mainly concerns the Kona EV, Hyundai’s biggest-selling electric car which was first recalled in 2020 over a software upgrade due to the risk of fires. One of the recalled Kona EVs caught fire in January, however, and South Korean officials started an investigation into whether the first recall had been adequate.
LG Energy Solution, a division of LG Chem which manufactures the batteries, has deflected the criticism. It said Hyundai misapplied LG’s suggestions for fast-charging logic in the battery management system, adding the battery cell should not be viewed as the direct cause of the fire risks.
South Korea’s transport ministry said that some problems had been found in some battery cells produced at LG Energy’s China factory.