Hyundai Kona EV recall for battery fire risk expanding to N. America, Europe

LG Chem disputes that battery packs are the cause

Seoul: Hyundai Motor Co is set to triple the number of recalled Kona electric cars over battery cell fire risks with plans to identify around 51,000 vehicles in North America, Europe, China, and other markets, Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.

The recalls would come after the South Korean automaker announced a voluntary recall plan for 25,564 Kona EVs at home starting Oct. 16.

In a statement on Monday, Hyundai said it “is in the final stages of filing a voluntary recall notice with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) for U.S. Kona EVs and will start the process of informing owners of these vehicles.”

Hyundai will recall 37,366 vehicles in Europe and 11,137 cars in North America, according to Yonhap.

The Hyundai statement did not mention the other markets, the total number of additional electric vehicles (EVs) it intends to recall, or the recalls’ dates.

South Korea’s transport ministry said last week Hyundai would voluntarily recall its Kona EVs as a possible short circuit due to faulty manufacturing of its high-voltage battery cells could pose a fire risk.

LG Chem Ltd, which supplies batteries for Kona EVs, said last week faulty battery cells were not the cause of fires in Kona EVs, and the exact cause had not been determined.

It said a re-enactment experiment conducted jointly with Hyundai had not led to a fire, so the fires could not be attributed to faulty battery cells. LG Chem declined on Monday to comment beyond what it said last week.

Recalled Kona EVs in South Korea will undergo software updates for all affected models and battery replacements of select models after inspections.

KB Investment & Securities said in a report on Monday. It could cost Hyundai as much as 600 billion won ($522.10 million) if they offer battery replacements for the nearly 77,000 affected vehicles identified worldwide.

Shares of Hyundai Motor and LG Chem fell 0.8% and 2.0%, respectively, on Monday, while the broader KOSPI market was up 0.3% as of 0430 GMT.

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