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Hyundai Motor plans world’s costliest electric vehicle recall

Hyundai Motor is drawing up plans for the world’s most costly electric automobiles recall to switch batteries following a string {of electrical} fires, in accordance with folks acquainted with the scenario.

The South Korean carmaker stated in October that it could recall 77,000 Kona electric automobiles made between September 2017 and March 2020 after greater than a dozen caught hearth as a consequence of battery issues. The carmaker is now contemplating changing the automobiles’ batteries after a recalled Kona mannequin caught hearth even after receiving software program upgrades, an endeavour that would price it as a lot as Won1tn ($900m), the folks stated.

The automobiles that caught hearth used LG Chem battery cells made within the South Korean firm’s manufacturing facility in Nanjing, China.

“Hyundai is considering various options including replacing batteries [for Kona EVs],” stated an individual with information of the corporate’s talks with LG Chem.

Hyundai has been criticised over the adequacy of earlier voluntary recollects. Concerns over the security of its electric automobiles intensified after an electric bus manufactured by the carmaker caught hearth this month. The electric metropolis bus used batteries made by LG Energy Solution, LG Chem’s wholly owned battery division.

South Korea’s transportation ministry is investigating the reason for the Kona fires. Hyundai stated no choice has been made in regards to the recall whereas it awaits the ministry’s findings.

“We are actively co-operating with the battery maker and the transportation ministry to find out the exact cause. We are trying to come up with a fundamental solution for consumer safety as soon as possible,” Chang Jae-hoon, Hyundai’s president, informed a press convention on Tuesday on the launch of the Ioniq 5 — Hyundai’s first mannequin utilizing its personal devoted electric vehicle platform.

Hyundai, along with affiliate Kia, is the world’s fourth-largest electric vehicle maker, with a mixed 7.2 per cent market share as of September final yr, in accordance with business tracker SNE Research. The pair goals to promote 1m electric automobiles yearly by 2025.

Hyundai and LG Chem are in talks about how you can divide the price of battery alternative however have but to achieve an settlement, with every blaming the opposite for the issue, in accordance with the folks near the discussions.

“Together with Hyundai, we are trying to find the cause of the problem and discussing how to address it, placing our top priority on consumer safety. But nothing has been decided yet,” LG Chem stated.

Their choice is prone to set a precedent within the fast-growing electric vehicle business, the place a number of different automakers are contending with related issues.

Some carmakers have opted to improve software program for recalled electric automobiles, a far inexpensive choice than changing batteries, which account for about 40 per cent of electric vehicle costs, in accordance with analysts.

General Motors stated in November it could recall almost 69,000 Chevrolet Bolt electric automobiles worldwide following a number of reported fires. The recalled Bolts made between 2017 and 2019 makes use of high-voltage batteries produced at LG Chem’s Ochang plant in South Korea.

GM’s transfer got here on the heels of a sequence of recollects by different carmakers together with Ford and BMW, all of which cited hearth dangers.

“GM is suffering a similar problem so Hyundai’s decision will intensify wrangling between EV makers and battery producers over who should be held responsible,” stated Chung Sung-yop, an analyst at Daiwa.

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Updated on March 1, 2021 6:09 am

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