Hyundai to voluntarily recall Kona EV over battery fire concerns – South Korea ministry

The Hyundai logo is seen during the first press day of the Paris auto show, in Paris, France

South Korea’s transport ministry said on Thursday Hyundai Motor Co 005380.KS will voluntarily recall its Kona electric vehicles as a possible short circuit due to faulty manufacturing of its high-voltage battery cells could pose a fire risk.

The voluntary recall starting October 16, which includes software updates and battery replacements after inspections, involves 25,564 Kona electric vehicles (EVs) built between September 2017 and March 2020, the transport ministry said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Hyundai Motor said she is checking the matter and did not have an immediate comment.

Some 13 cases of fire involving the Kona EV, including one each in Canada and Austria, were documented so far, according to a statement by ruling party lawmaker Jang Kyung-tae’s office on Thursday.

Kona EVs used batteries made by LG Chem Ltd 051910.KS. An LG Chem spokesman said the company did not have an immediate comment.

The company’s shares fell 1.4% compared to a 0.2% rise in the benchmark KOSPI .KS11, reflecting investor concerns the recall and battery replacements could be costly, as batteries take up about 30% of an EV’s price, analysts said.

In contrast, LG Chem shares rose 1.8%.

The Kona Electric is the South Korean automaker’s first long-range subcompact SUV EV.

In July, Hyundai Motor Group leader Euisun Chung said Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors aim to sell 1 million battery-driven electric vehicles in 2025, together targeting more than 10% of the global market share for such vehicles.

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