Hyundai has issued a recall affecting more than 11,000 Kona Electric vehicles in the U.S. and Canada from the 2019 and 2020 model years due to a problem that could cause the battery to short circuit and potentially start a fire.
With the issuance of the recall notice sent on October 13 and sent by the federal government on Saturday, Hyundai Motor America confirmed to Green car reports that it has also asked dealers to stop selling Kona Electric in 2019 and 2020 in the US and Canada – an estimated 1,000 vehicles in the US and 10 in Canada – until the right of withdrawal is completed.
It includes all Hyundai-certified used Kona Electrics, but it does not include the new 2021
Including vehicles already delivered, the recall affects the entire population of U.S. Kona Electric models – 6,707 vehicles – manufactured between August 28, 2018 and March 2, 2020. Separately, there are 4,375 Kona Electrics in Canada that must also be covered by the recall.
“Hyundai continues to actively investigate this condition for identifying an exact root cause,” the automaker said. It noted that the high-voltage system in affected vehicles “may contain certain electrical defects.”
2020 Hyundai Kona Electric
These deficiencies, Hyundai explains, may be related to damage to battery cells and / or defective battery management system (BMS) control software. All in all, the faults can increase the risk of short circuit after fully charging the battery, says Hyundai.
During the recall, owners must bring their Kona Electric to the dealer for an inspection of the lithium-ion battery pack – with free replacement if necessary – plus an update of the BMS.
Although no fires have been reported in the United States, a number of fires in other markets have prompted an investigation that began in 2019. Then, after three separate Kona Electric models parked – each with a full charge – burned Korea. An incident in Europe where Hyundai has made Kona Electric more accessible and two in Canada met the same description in 2019, while the automaker through October 2020 notes seven more reports globally.
A report from Korea Times earlier this month noted that a South Korean study made seemingly contradictory statements about the location of the alleged defect – both referring to it as a production defect in the cells, but also suggested “electrical problems in the battery pack”
There are about 77,000 Kona Electric vehicles worldwide, according to this report.
The battery pack in Kona Electric is assembled by HL Green Power, which is a joint venture between LG Chem, which supplies the cells, and Hyundai Mobis. Hyundai and Kia have the same parent company, but the Kia Niro EV has completely different batteries on board – picked up by another South Korea-based supplier, SK Innovation.
2019 Hyundai Kona Electric
Kona Electric is a low-volume model, but it is ahead of a stronger push towards electric vehicles, starting next year with the arrival of dedicated EV models under a new Ioniq sub-brand.
Kona Electric owners in the US will be formally notified of the recall in December. Meanwhile, Kona Electric drivers can enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at HyundaiUSA.com/Recalls or Recalls.HyundaiCanada.com to see if it is affected.
They are also advised “to park their vehicles outdoors and / or away from structures until their vehicle is repaired.” Hyundai says rental cars will be provided if needed.