Hyundai Australia is about to recall approximately 1100 electric cars sold from 2018 to 2020 due a fire risk when recharging.
While there have been no reports of fire in Hyundai electric cars locally, overseas reports says there been 15 fires in the US, 11 in South Korea, two in Canada and one each in Finland and Austria.
Automotive News USA reported Hyundai has advised North American owners of affected Hyundai electric vehicles to “limit battery charging to 90 per cent of capacity until the battery has been replaced”.
A statement from Hyundai Australia said the company “is aware of the recent Kona (electric car) recall announced in Korea and will be taking a similar action in Australia”.
“We have informed the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications about the recall and will communicate the details to affected customers shortly.”
A report by Automotive News USA estimates the global recall of 82,000 Hyundai Kona and Ioniq electric cars – in which the battery packs must be replaced – will cost in excess of US$900 million which equates to AU$1.13 billion in our currency.
“The recall is one of the first mass battery pack replacements conducted by a major automaker,” Automotive News USA reported.
“It's very significant for both Hyundai and (battery supplier) LG as we are in the early stages of the electric vehicle era,” Lee Hang-koo, senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade, told Automotive News USA. “How Hyundai handles this will set a precedent not just in South Korea but also for other countries.”
The vehicles at the centre of the latest safety scare had been recalled for electrical problems last year.
However, one of the repaired vehicles evidently caught fire again, prompting South Korean authorities to launch a new probe “into whether the first recall had been adequate”, Automotive News USA reported.
Battery supplier LG has so far attempted to deflect criticism.
In a statement to Automotive News USA, the battery company claimed Hyundai “misapplied LG’s suggestions for fast-charging logic in the battery management system” and said the battery cell “should not be seen as the direct cause of the fire risks”.
However, South Korea's transport ministry claimed some defects had been found in certain battery cells produced by LG’s factory in China.
While Hyundai and LG appear to be in dispute over the cause of the fault, it is likely both brands will need to foot the enormous recall repair bill.