Hyundai to Recall Electric Vehicles to Replace Batteries

The worldwide recall comes after multiple reports of vehicle fires

2021 Hyundai Kona EV Hyundai

Hyundai is planning to announce a second recall to address the risk of Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric vehicles catching fire. The new recall will likely involve replacing the batteries, and it comes after multiple reports of the EVs catching fire while parked.

Earlier today, Hyundai recalled 26,699 EVs in South Korea with batteries supplied by the battery manufacturer LG Chem. In a statement to Consumer Reports, a spokesperson for Hyundai Motor North America said that the automaker “will be taking a similar action in the U.S. and Canada,” and that the company is finalizing the details of how the recall will proceed in the U.S.

Hyundai issued a recall last October in the U.S. for 6,707 Kona Electric vehicles from the 2019 and 2020 model years to update battery management software following 12 reports of fires. But according to a report issued today from South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MOLIT), it's still possible for vehicles to catch fire after the software update, so a full battery replacement is necessary.

More Car Recalls

The new recalls come after an investigation into a Kona Electric vehicle that caught fire in Korea in January 2021, even though its battery management software had been updated as part of an earlier recall. A statement from MOLIT says that the fire was likely caused by a manufacturing defect found in batteries produced at a specific LG Chem factory.

According to Hyundai, a majority of the recalled vehicles will be Kona Electrics, although a small number of Ioniq Electric hatchbacks will also be included. Hyundai will notify owners “shortly,” according to the statement. Consumer Reports will update this article when more information about the recall becomes available.

Chevrolet is also in the process of recalling nearly 51,000 Bolt EVs after reports of vehicle fires. Those vehicles also use batteries from LG Chem, although they were manufactured in a different factory than the batteries in the Hyundai vehicles, and a spokesperson for Chevrolet told CR that they have a unique design. Chevrolet says that a software update that fixes the problem should be ready in April.

Although the Kia Niro EV and Soul EV share much of the same design as the Hyundai Kona EV, a Kia spokesperson told CR that Kia’s EVs use batteries supplied by SK Innovation, not LG Chem.

Head shot photo of CRO Cars CIA editor Keith Barry

Keith Barry

Despite my love for quirky, old European sedans like the Renault Medallion, it's my passion to help others find a safe, reliable car that still puts a smile on their face—even if they're stuck in traffic. When I'm not behind the wheel or the keyboard, you can find me exploring a new city on foot or planning my next trip.