Hyundai Motor to recall Kona EV in South Korea over concern of fire risk

From Joyce Lee
SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co will voluntarily recall its Kona electric vehicles as a possible short circuit, as a possible faulty manufacture of its high-voltage battery cells could pose a fire risk, the South Korean Ministry of Transportation said on Thursday.
As of October 16, the recall, which includes software updates and battery changes after inspections, includes 25,564 Kona electric vehicles (EVs) built between September 2017 and March 2020, the ministry said in a statement.
The safety recall "is a proactive response to a suspected faulty production of high voltage batteries in the vehicles that may have contributed to the reported fires," said Hyundai, adding that all necessary measures will be taken to determine the cause of the fire and on responding to customer needs.
According to a statement from the ruling party's legislature, Jang Kyung-tae, 13 fires have been documented with the Kona EV, including one each in Canada and Austria.
Kona EVs use batteries from LG Chem Ltd.
LG Chem said the exact cause of the fire had not been determined and a re-enactment experiment conducted in collaboration with Hyundai did not result in a fire, so the fires could not be attributed to faulty battery cells.
It would actively participate in future investigations with Hyundai to find the cause, LG Chem added in a statement.
Hyundai's shares fell 1.4% on investor concerns that the recall and battery replacement could be costly as the battery represents about 30% of the price of an electric vehicle, analysts said.
In contrast, the LG Chem share rose 1.8%.
The Kona Electric is the South Korean automaker's first long-haul EV SUV.
In July, Euisun Chung, head of Hyundai Motor Group, stated that Hyundai Motor and sister company Kia Motors intend to sell 1 million battery-powered electric vehicles by 2025, representing more than 10% of the global market share for such vehicles.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; writing by Heekyong Yang; editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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