[Photo by Yonhap]
Hyundai Motor Co. will conduct a voluntary recall to replace faulty battery systems in 81,701 electric vehicles globally, including 26,699 units in Korea due to fire risks, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport announced on Wednesday.
The latest recall which will cost an estimated $900 million applies to 25,083 Kona EVs, 1,314 Ioniq EVs and 302 Elec City models in Korea alone. All the models recalled were produced between Nov. 2017 and Mar. 2020, running on batteries of LG Energy Solution.
It follows a previous recall of the carmaker’s best-selling electric car Kona EV in October for a battery management software upgrade after a series of fires were reported. But in January, one of the recalled vehicles caught fire and the ministry launched an investigation into the case.
There have been some 15 cases of fires involving the Kona EV - 11 in Korea and the remaining overseas.
The probe found some battery cells defective and fire prone in high-voltage batteries produced at LG Energy Solution’s Nanjing factory in China from September 2017 to July 2019.
The new recall will replace the vehicles’ high-voltage battery system assembly (BSA) from Mar. 29. All customers of the affected vehicles will receive free BSA replacement at designated car service centers.
Despite the huge cost burden, Hyundai Motor decided to conduct the recall to place consumer safety first as it readies full drive on EVs with the release of Ioniq 5, the first EV running on its dedicated EV platform E-GMP.
The cost of estimated 1 trillion won would be shared between Hyundai Motor and LG Energy upon consultation, although LG refuses to agree to battery default.
LG Energy Solution said in a statement that Hyundai Motor has misapplied its technical suggestion in the battery management system and the battery cell cannot be blamed for the direct cause of the fire risks.
Shares of Hyundai Motor were down 3.89 percent to close at 235,000 won ($212) on Wednesday.
By Seo Jin-woo and Minu Kim
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