Hyundai Australia has confirmed it will recall electric Kona and Ioniq cars sold in Australia and replace their battery packs and battery management systems, part of a global recall triggered by fears of a potential fire risk.
The recall will affect most of the 1001 Kona electric cars sold in Australia since their launch two years ago, and many of the 755 fully electric Ioniq cars sold in Australia (but not the hybrid or the plug in hybrid versions). It is part of a global recall of 82,000 electric vehicles.
News of the global recall first emerged over the weekend, and was confirmed by Hyundai Motors to South Korea media on Wednesday.
“Hyundai Motor Company Australia is aware of the recent Kona EV recall announced in Korea and will be taking a similar action in Australia,” said a company statement issued in Australia on Thursday.
“We have informed the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DIRD) about the recall and will communicate the details to affected customers shortly.”
According to the Korea Herald, Hyundai will begin the replacement of the battery management system (BMS) in 75,680 Kona EVs, 5,716 IONIQ EV and 305 Elec City buses from March 29 in the domestic market and from April in overseas markets.
It said the battery system subject to the replacement was manufactured by South Korea’s No.1 battery maker LG Energy Solutions, between November 2017 and March 2020. LG Energy is a key affiliate of the country’s leading chemical firm LG Chem Ltd., it said.
The call is expected to cost more than $A1.2 billion and is one of the biggest and most expensive ever, and it comes in the same week that Hyundai officially launched the Ioniq 5, the first of its new electric car range under the Ioniq label.
Business Korea reported over the weekend that since its launch in 2018, the Kona EV has suffered a total of 15 fires — 11 in Korea and four overseas. Fires have also been reported in Ioniqs, and on February 15, in a Hyundai electric bus.
It is third recall for the Kona electric in nearly as many months in Australia.
Last December, the Kona Electric was recalled to update the software to remedy a braking system issue.
“Hyundai is recalling certain Hyundai Kona Electric vehicles produced between August 27th 2018 and November 5th 2020,” said an email to owners which was sighted by The Driven.
Last October, Hyundai issued a recall to owners of Australian delivered Kona EVs built between January 31 2018 and March 2 2020, for a software update designed to address the fire issues. That clearly has been insufficient and now the entire battery and battery management system of these cars will be replaced.
But not every Kona EV sounded unhappy, with one noting it would deliver a new battery pack, along with a new 8-year warranty. “Nice! Be like getting a new engine,” said one on a Hyundai EV enthusiasts page on Facebook.