Hyundai is issuing a recall of its Kona Electric in South Korea due to a possible short circuit that could spark a fire.

    Reuters reports 13 vehicles have ignited, including one each in Austria and Canada.

    Hyundai Australia says it’s “currently in conversation with our head office in Korea to determine if Kona EVs in Australia are also affected. There have been no instances of fire reported locally”.

    Hyundai has taken the step of recalling 25,564 Kona Electric models in its home market. These vehicles were built between September 2017 and March 2020.

    In a statement, the company said the safety recall “is a proactive response to a suspected defective production of high-voltage batteries used in the vehicles, which may have contributed to the reported fires”.

    The Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has also cited faulty manufacturing of battery cells as the potential cause.

    The recall process, which will start on October 16, involves both software updates and battery replacements.

    Hyundai sources its batteries from LG Chem, who 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.

    Earlier this year, Hyundai said it wants to sell 1 million battery-electric vehicles across its Hyundai and Kia brands in 2025, or around 10 per cent global market share in the EV market.

    It currently sells the Ioniq Electric and Kona Electric locally. Earlier this year, it announced it would form a new Ioniq brand that would exclusively offer electric vehicles.

    Set to launch next year, the Ioniq brand will initially sell only the small Ioniq 5 SUV, based on the 45 EV concept. The following year, it’ll launch the Ioniq 6 sedan inspired by the Hyundai Prophecy concept, and then cap the range with the large Ioniq 7 SUV in 2024.

    While Hyundai currently fields only two EVs locally, it offers more in other markets. In China, it sells an electric version of its Lafesta sedan and recently confirmed the next-generation Mistra – another sub-Sonata sedan – will offer an electric version there.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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