Customers have complained that Hyundai’s Ioniq 5, which debuted earlier this year, had engine coolant leaks. UPI News Korea File Photo
SEOUL, June 18 (UPI) -- Hyundai is under fire from customer complaints that the Ioniq 5 leaks coolant within the first months of usage.
Acknowledging the issue, a Hyundai Motor spokesman said Friday the leakages can be attributed to problems in production, including poor circulation of the coolant due to failure of the water pump, but that chances of a fire occurring are slim.
The Ioniq5 is Hyundai's newest purpose-built electric car and has a 300-mile range per single charge. The midsize crossover debuted in April this year in South Korea and entered the U.S. market last month.
Coolants help absorb excess heat from the engine, whether it is powered by gasoline, diesel, or electricity. Without the coolant, the engine cannot sustain the optimal operating temperature.
Driving with low coolant can cause a car engine to overheat, potentially damaging the engine. At worst, a fire can take place, according to experts.
"Electric cars are particularly vulnerable to overheating. Hence, it is very important to maintain the proper coolant level. Otherwise, the car may catch on fire," Daelim University automotive Professor Kim Pil-soo told UPI News Korea.
"Hyundai would eventually have to issue a recall. I think the Korean government is also keeping an eye on the company while this issue is active," he said.
Hyundai has committed to focusing on electric vehicles by promising to launch 12 new models by 2025. But the automaker has faced criticism about quality control.
Late last year, it experienced a series of fires involving its Kona electric cars, its first mass-market electric sports utility vehicle.
Earlier this year, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned Kona owners against parking their cars near homes or any flammable structures due to potential fire hazards.
Hyundai decided to recall Kona electric cars and stopped selling the model in the Korean market altogether.