NHTSA investigates LG ES battery recalls
The US Federal Highway and Vehicle Safety Administration is moving to investigate LG Energy Solution’s faulty battery cells that led to fires in electric cars and plug-in hybrids. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to ensure that all defective batteries have been recalled by car manufacturers.
The NHTSA review affects 138,324 vehicles, according to a report by Reuters news agency. The auto safety agency will contact LG and “other companies that may have purchased the same or similar devices from LG,” it said.
At LG Energy Solution, the NHTSA request is understood to be a follow-up, according to a spokesperson. The company said it would “fully cooperate” in the endeavour, according to Reuters.
In addition to LG Energy Solution, several automakers are also coming under scrutiny: the agency found that Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler parent Stellantis, General Motors and Hyundai Motor have issued recalls since 2020 for internal defects in high-voltage batteries for vehicles that pose a fire risk.
The recalls at GM for its Chevrolet Bolt EV prompted the US manufacturer to halt sales and production of new models in August. In September last year, the company declared the Chevrolet Bolt’s battery problems fixed.
The following October, General Motors said it had reached an agreement with LG for billions in compensation. In the third quarter, GM will report a special gain of $1.9 billion (1.6 billion euros), it said. This almost makes up for the roughly two billion dollars in expenses for the recalls.
LG Energy Solution owner LG Chem said in October that it would take a 620 billion won ($510 million) charge in its third-quarter earnings related to the GM Bolt recall, the Reuters report now says.
According to Reuters data from September 2021, the faulty LG battery cells likely came from at least two of the battery maker’s Asian plants, specifically in South Korea and China.