Fire Issue Stops 2019-2020 Hyundai Kona Electric Sale, US Recall


Hyundai has issued a recall in the United States of more than 11,000 Kona EVs from the 2019 and 2020 model years, due to an issue that could cause the battery to short and potentially start a fire.

With the release of the recall notice, submitted on October 13 and posted by the federal government on Saturday, Hyundai Motor America has confirmed to Green car reports that it also asked dealers to stop selling the Kona Electric in the United States and Canada – approximately 1,000 vehicles in the United States and 10 in Canada – until the recall action is complete . This includes any Hyundai Certified Pre-Owned Kona Electrics.

Including the vehicles already delivered, the recall affects the entire population of US Kona Electric models – 6,707 vehicles – manufactured between August 28, 2018 and March 2, 2020. Separately, in Canada, there are 4,375 Kona Electrics also affected by the recall.

“Hyundai continues to actively investigate this condition to identify an exact root cause,” the automaker said. He noted that the high voltage system of the affected vehicles “could contain some electrical faults”.

2020 Hyundai Kona Electric

These shortcomings, Hyundai says, could be related to damage to the battery cells and / or faulty battery management system (BMS) control software. Overall, faults could increase the risk of a short circuit after a full battery charge, Hyundai says.

Under the recall, owners will be required to bring their Kona Electric to the dealership for a lithium-ion battery inspection – with free replacement if necessary – plus a BMS update.

Although no fires were reported in the United States, a number of fires in other markets prompted an investigation which began in 2019. Then, after three separate Kona Electric models that were parked – each with a full state of charge – caught fire in Korea. An incident in Europe, where Hyundai made the Kona electric more widely available, and two in Canada encountered the same description in 2019, while through October 2020 the automaker is noting seven other reports around the world.

A report from Korea Times Earlier this month, a South Korean investigation made seemingly contradictory statements about the location of the alleged defect – both calling it a manufacturing defect in the cells, but also suggesting “electrical problems in the cell. ‘battery pack assembly’.

According to this report, there are approximately 77,000 Kona electric vehicles in the world.

The Kona Electric battery pack is assembled by HL Green Power, which is a joint venture of LG Chem, which supplies the cells, and Hyundai Mobis. Hyundai and Kia have the same parent company, but the Kia Niro EV has completely different batteries on board, sourced from another South Korean-based supplier, SK Innovation.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

The Kona Electric is a low-volume model, but it precedes a stronger push towards electric vehicles that begins next year, with the arrival of dedicated EV models under a new Ioniq sub-brand.

Kona Electric owners in the United States will be officially notified of the recall in December. In the meantime, Kona Electric drivers can enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on or to see if it’s affected.

They are also advised “to park their vehicle outside and / or far from structures until their vehicle is repaired”. Hyundai indicates that rental vehicles will be provided if necessary.


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