Apr 7, 2021 - 04:50 pm

Kona Electric battery recall keeps troubling Hyundai

Hyundai’s recall of the Kona EV due to allegedly faulty cells supplied by LG continues to be a bumpy road. Some owners told Reuters of delays and poor communication, adding fuel to a long story that yet awaits an adequate solution.

To recap quickly – you can find the full story here as it developed – reports of Hyundai Kona Electric cars catching fires first made headlines in October 2020. Confusion followed over the incidents believed to involve faulty cells from LG Chem that remained undetected by the battery management system. Hyundai at the time seemed in denial and delivered poor communications across markets.

The company then agreed on a recall only to find new incidents occurring in vehicles that they had supposedly repaired this January again. Hyundai engineers had opted for a software update despite the issue turning out to be more complex. The Kona Electric uses the same batteries as GM’s Chevrolet Bolt, for which there was also a recall. GM had begun swapping the batteries that October, while Hyundai stuck with the software update as a final solution.

That was until the company had to give in this February when Korean media reported Hyundai was replacing the entire batteries of all 77,000 Kona Electric vehicles worldwide. These account for nearly 70% of the 111,000 units sold over the past three years in Hyundai’s major markets of Europe, the US and South Korea. A few days later, on 25 February, the manufacturer extended the recall to include not only the Kona Electric but also the Ioniq Electric and some Elec City e-bus units at the cost of $900 million following fires in 15 Kona EVs.

Still, the decision to finally replace the batteries sounded like good news, all things considered at the time. However, the new Reuters report points to Hyundai still not having sorted the problem and even less the communication.

Take the example of Kim, an EV owner in Seoul. He told the news agency: “When I asked Hyundai’s repair centre when exactly my Kona EV will be getting a battery replacement, they just told me that they would put me ahead in the line, but I haven’t received the exact date yet.” Kim then added, “There were only a few EV options when I bought my Kona EV back in 2018, but now that there are way more EV models available, I don’t think I would go for Hyundai again.”

And Kim is not alone. Already in November 2020, 173 Kona EV owners filed a class-action lawsuit, seeking 8 million won ($7,000) compensation each for what they consider a reduced value of their EVs.

Another Kona EV owner, surnamed Lee, also said the software update, designed to reduce the fire risk until the battery was replaced, had substantially reduced the battery’s charging capacity. He will never buy a Hyundai vehicle again.

It looks like Hyundai risks losing buyers just when it tries to accelerate growth in the EV segment with Ioniq 5 just released. The new model is the first in a planned family of electric vehicles built on the common e-GMP architecture that the carmaker hopes will propel it to become the third-largest global EV maker by 2025.


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6 Kommentare zu “Kona Electric battery recall keeps troubling Hyundai

  1. M.M.

    Hyundai has agreed to buy out my Lease after numerous strongly worded letters to Hyundai Consumer Affairs department. Waiting for the details from them.

    • GRRRR

      My inoperable Kona EV has been stuck at the dealership waiting for a battery replacement for 6 weeks, with no timeline ever provided from Hyundai on how long they expect me to wait, and no communication whatsoever from Hyundai Consumer Affairs for nearly a month! Bought the car based on great initial reviews and Hyundai’s reputation for quality, but I’m now on my third recall in 18 months of ownership, and my impression of Hyundai has been irreparably damaged. Glad the competition in the EV sector is stepping up, because I’m definitely looking elsewhere for my next EV purchase!

      • Eddie

        Yes I have the same problem
        It just wouldn’t go after charging one day had it towed to the dealer over two months ago. No updates as to when the battery will be replaced. Only 7300 miles on it. Still have payments. Big mistake
        Very disappointed

  2. Brandy Grote

    I call the service department, they are unaware of anything. They say my car “has several recalls” – but I’ve ONLY driven to the dealership in the last YEAR – to get recalls fixed. They can’t tell me anything about this most recent one, and of COURSE never mentioned the $200 gift card “remuneration”. My car is paid off. Going lemon law won’t help much, I doubt I’ll get $50k even with just 4000 miles on it.

  3. No1UNO

    With Recall Campaign 196 done in November, 2020, I lost 20% of my full charge mileage range. Then while investigating that issue, my main traction battery died on March 21, 2021. Now I am providing documentation so that Hyundai USA can buy my car back but I am very concerned at the limited choices available now – plenty of SUV EV’s coming out later in 2021 and early 2022…but also at higher pricing. I am hoping Hyundai will work with me after the buy back to make me whole and put me into another SUV EV with similar mileage range and power / torque.

  4. Kimberly Zaldivar

    They are expecting me to Pay the monthly payment plus the gas that I need to pay for the rental car. I live and work over an hour away ONE WAY so two hours. I’m spending too much on gas and Hyundai has so ETA of when the battery will get here. Meanwhile, they haven’t given me the $200 Visa card. I’m thinking about sueing if I even can! I love my car but this isn’t fair

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Found on electrive.com
07.04.2021 16:45