It was reported last month that Hyundai was preparing to recall 77,000 Kona electric cars worldwide over the risk of a battery fire as the automaker is fighting with LG Chem, the battery supplier, over the cause. There have been at least a dozen Kona EV fires, sparking investigations into the batteries themselves. Official investigatory reports from Korea have placed blame on the battery cells, while another report is concluding that the problems stem from an issue with the battery pack.
The Kona utilizes a battery pack made of 57-60 battery cells. The assembly is a high-voltage battery system with five such battery packs plus a battery management system (BMS) and a cooling system.
The Kona EV’s battery pack is made by HL Green Power, a joint venture of Hyundai Mobis and LG Chem. LG Chem produces the battery cells and Hyundai Mobis assembles the battery packs. LG Chem denies that the cause could be the battery cells. Hyundai already confirmed a voluntary recall of more than 25,000 Kona EVs in Korea and the recall is now expected to be extended to over 77,000 electric vehicles worldwide, including in North America. As a result of checking the recalled vehicle after updating the BMS, Hyundai Motor Company plans to replace the battery immediately if any signs of battery abnormality such as excessive cell-to-cell voltage deviation or rapid temperature change are found.
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This story appears in the December 2020 issue of The Jere Beasley Report. For more like this, visit the Report online and subscribe.