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Hyundai Recalling Kona Electrics in South Korea

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Hyundai has announced it’s issuing a voluntary recall of all Kona Electrics in South Korea due to a potential risk of a short circuit. The defective manufacture of a high-tension battery component is said to be behind the problem, and it raises the risk of a fire in the vehicle.

The recall affects 25,564 vehicles assembled between September 2017 and March 2020, according to South Korea’s Transport Ministry. The campaign will launch officially on October 16 and calls for owners to bring their vehicle in for a software update and a replacement of the battery, this following an inspection.

A statement from the office of Jang Kyung-Tae, a legislator with the governing party, indicates there have been 13 documented cases of fires in Hyundai Kona Electric models. That includes on case in Canada in July 2019.

Hyundai says for its part that the recall is a proactive move, and explains that that it will take all necessary measures to identify the cause of the fires and respond to the needs of its customers.

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Kona Electrics use batteries manufactured by the LG Chem company. That firm stated that the exact cause of the fires has not been determined, and that a reconstitution of one of the documented cases did not actually lead to a fire. It claims therefore that defective battery cells cannot be the cause of the documented fires.

LG Chem added that it will participate in an investigation conjointly with Hyundai to determine the actual cause.

We have contacted Hyundai Canada to learn whether a similar recall decision has been made here, and have been told the Canadian division is currently studying the case. We will update our report when further news is forthcoming.

For the moment, Canadian owners of Kona Electric shouldn’t worry, as no causes for the fires have even be identified. As mentioned, the company’s action in South Korea is a preventive measure.

Hyundai Kona Electric, écusson
Photo: D.Boshouwers
Hyundai Kona Electric, écusson