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Hyundai to recall fire-prone Kona electric cars

By
Kim Hye-ran, UPI News Korea
A Hyundai Kona Electric car is burnt at a parking lot in Daegu, South Korea, on October 4. Photo courtesy of Daegu Fire Department
A Hyundai Kona Electric car is burnt at a parking lot in Daegu, South Korea, on October 4. Photo courtesy of Daegu Fire Department

SEOUL, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Hyundai Motor Co. will recall more than 25,000 of its fire-prone Kona Electric cars in South Korea beginning Friday.

The Kona Electric is the second best-selling electric car in South Korea after Tesla's Model 3. Globally, more than 100,000 Kona Electric cars have been sold since 2018.

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Recently, safety concerns have left car owners on alert after at least 12 Kona Electrics caught fire. Two of these reported fires took place outside Korea -- in Austria and Canada.

One Kona Electric recently burst into flames at a parking lot in Daegu, about 200 miles southeast of Seoul, prompting Hyundai to come up with an official apology.

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"We plan to recall 25,564 units of the Kona Electric produced between Sept. 29, 2017 and March 13 of this year," a Hyundai Motor spokesman said.

"We will check the batteries while updating the battery management system. Upon finding any signs of problems, we plan to replace the batteries."

The spokesman also noted that recalls will take place in other countries, although the company has yet to release further details.

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While Hyundai Motor suspects the fires are related to the batteries, LG Chem claims otherwise. As the world's top maker of rechargeable batteries, LG Chem supplied batteries to the Kona Electric.

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In a statement, LG Chem warned against any premature conclusions by saying that "the causes of the fires are not certain yet."

Professor Kim Pil-soo of Daelim University said he expected this kind of blame game to occur between the two powerhouses.

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"LG Chem supplied battery packs, while Hyundai Motor installed them in the Kona Electric with many systems, including the battery management system," Kim said. "Even if batteries resulted in the fires, it remains to be seen which side is responsible."

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