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Hyundai Caught Up in Global Battery Pack Recall

Hyundai Australia is at the centre of a recall affecting roughly 1100 local electric vehicles sold since 2018 including the popular Hyundai Kona and Hyundai Ioniq, with the vehicles considered at risk of catching fire while recharging. In total, however, the global recall encompasses an estimated 82,000 electric vehicles, which will each require a new battery pack replacement at a grand cost of around $1.1 billion.

It marks one of the first major recalls by any brand as far as battery pack recalls or replacements. While recalls are somewhat par for the course in the automotive industry, EVs have largely escaped a similar fate thus far, with this new development potentially proving a watch-point for a segment of the industry that is looking to generate increased interest among new car buyers.

The recall comes in response to a number of reports overseas where electric vehicles have caught fire. At this stage, there are an estimated 30 cases that have been documented, with some customers advised to limit the charging of their existing batteries to 90% so as to not introduce any risk until such time that the batteries have been replaced.

Commenting on the matter, Lee Hang-koo, senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade, believes “It’s very significant for both Hyundai and LG as we are in the early stages of the electric vehicle era…How Hyundai handles this will set a precedent not just in South Korea but also for other countries.”

 

 

In news that further complicates things, some of the vehicles involved in this latest recall were already singled out last year for being burdened by a separate recall related to electrical problems.

It has also sparked a bit of a war of words between manufacturer and supplier, with Hyundai and LG at odds as to the reasons behind the potential fault.

In the case of Hyundai, South Korean government authorities did the wagering on their behalf, claiming various defects were found in some battery cells produced by battery supplier LG out of its Chinese factory. On the other hand, LG accused Hyundai of misapplying its suggestions regarding the functional operation of fast-charging for its battery management system, dismissing the notion that its battery cells were a direct cause of the fire risks.

Regardless where the issue lies, with this being one of the first major recalls affecting the central technology underpinning the shift to electric vehicles, not only will Hyundai and LG be keen for a quick resolution to the matter, but a number of other parties will be watching closely hoping to avoid any similar shortfall in terms of quality control.

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