Hyundai Australia is not commenting – at least officially – on the growing concern relating to the possible recall of the majority of Australian electric Konas due to the potential for a fully charged battery to catch fire, as it has done in the US and South Korea.
But Hyundai did respond to one owner with the following email, advising the owner to park the electric Kona away from flammable structures, and not in a garage.
The message will now start getting around, given the letter was posted to the Australian Electric Vehicle Association national EV Forum today. However, it does beg the question as to why Hyundai are now making such a worrying announcement individually, rather than through the normal channels to all affected vehicle owners.
Surely all Kona owners deserve this advice through a general notice, and should not have to make a personal enquiry to Hyundai head office in order to be warned not to park under cover?
After all, due to supply constraints, not many Konas have been sold in Australia so far, so the affected number will be in the low hundreds rather than the thousands and a notice to owners would not be a difficult or costly thing to do.
Certainly, such openness would inspire confidence by Australian Kona owners in Hyundai Australia to know that the issue is being treated as a matter of urgency.
At the moment, it appears that Hyundai Australia are hoping that most owners will not become aware of the issue until they know what to do themselves. Given the EV community is generally better informed and aware, this assumption may prove to be a poor one.
Update: Our Kona driver received another alert from Hyundai Australia, this time saying it was a mistake and the first reference was drawn from a US government website, and the company has not received any notice about the electric Kona in Australia.
Bryce Gaton is an expert on electric vehicles and contributor for The Driven and Renew Economy. He has been working in the EV sector since 2008 and is currently working as EV electrical safety trainer/supervisor for the University of Melbourne. He also provides support for the EV Transition to business, government and the public through his EV Transition consultancy EVchoice.