Hyundai has recalled its flagship electric vehicle due to a serious fire risk.
The lithium-ion battery in the Kona Electric SUV may have internal damage or the battery management system control software may cause an electrical short circuit after charging.
If this does happen then the vehicle’s battery may catch fire, which could result in serious injury or death to occupants or bystanders and damage to property, according to the company.
Hyundai suggests the affected vehicles should not be parked in a garage. They should ideally park in an open space away from flammable materials to minimise further damage if the vehicle does catch fire.
Owners should also only recharge their vehicles to no more than 90 per cent to further minimise the risk.
Close to 800 vehicles built between 2018 and 2020 are affected, and Hyundai is getting in touch with owners and directing them to their nearest Hyundai dealership to have the issue fixed.
There have been reports of several incidents overseas and Hyundai is not aware of any incidents of Kona EVs catching fire in Australia. Hyundai has issued similar recalls overseas.
Electric car battery fires can be a greater risk than internal combustion engines because of the chemicals used in the battery. And there can often be a delay in ignition of the fire, as heat continues to build after the car is switched off, meaning the car can often be unattended when it catches fire.
This isn’t the first incident of electric cars catching fire. Tesla — the most established EV maker — has had several serious incident of its cars catching fire.
In 2019 a Model S caught fire in Antwerp, Belgium, while connected to one of the brand’s superchargers. This fire resulted in extensive damage to the vehicle and partially melted the Supercharger.
There have also been several reports where Teslas have caught fire after an accident has damaged the battery.
The Hyundai Kona EV is the brand’s flagship electric vehicle and is priced at about $64,000 drive-away. Range is impressive at up to 449km, which is better than most other EVs on the market bar Tesla.
The Kona EV is capable of charging its big 64kWh battery to 80 per cent capacity from empty in under an hour when using a 100kW DC fast charger.
Electric cars slow the rate of the charger after 80 per cent to stop the battery overheating.