Hyundai Australia will start recalling the Kona Electric for an issue that has led to battery fires overseas.
The company confirmed it’s already started contacting customers, though the recall has yet to be formally announced by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The recall affects vehicles built between January 31, 2018 and March 2, 2020.
It’s an extension of a global recall that’s already seen more than 37,000 units recalled in Europe, 25,564 in South Korea, over 11,000 units in North America, and an additional 3000 units sold in other markets.
“The software for the Battery Management system for the high voltage battery has some deficiencies that may cause the battery to overheat,” Hyundai Australia’s recall notification reads. This is resolved via a software upgrade.
The Driven has shared a copy of the recall email that Australian Kona Electric owners have received.
It recommends customers park their vehicle away from flammable structures (e.g. not in a garage) and for owners to only charge the battery up to a maximum of 90 per cent.
Owners are then advised to unplug the charge cable and not charge their vehicle overnight until the recall procedure has been completed.
The upgrade to the battery management system will see it momentarily stop during a charge to carry out a battery self-diagnosis at 80 and 90 per cent, thereby stopping it from overheating.
According to the recall notification, the software upgrade won’t affect the maximum charging capacity or driving range, though The Driven says the upgrade will extend the time you’ll spend at a DC charger if you choose to charge beyond 80 per cent.
A total of 13 vehicles globally have ignited, including one each in Austria and Canada. No such fires have been reported in Australia.
Hyundai sources its batteries from LG Chem, which said the fires couldn’t be attributed to faulty battery cells.
The battery manufacturer said a reenactment experiment conducted with Hyundai hadn’t led to a vehicle fire, and therefore the exact cause is unknown.
It will continue working with Hyundai to investigate the issue.