EVs don’t catch fire as rapidly as internal combustion vehicles, but since they are becoming a popular form of transport, fires are being reported
After Hyundai was forced to recall over 80,000 Kona EVs because of battery fire concerns, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also advised against parking the vehicle inside the garage of a house or near any flammable structure.
It has been reported that an electrical short in the lithium-ion battery cells of the Kona increase the risk of fire while parked, especially while charging and also while driving, the NHTSA said. Hyundai was forced to recall over 76,000 Kona EVs and also some new Ioniq EV models totalling to 82,000 cars.
At the heart of the issue are the lithium-ion batteries manufactured by the world’s largest battery maker for EVs, LG Energy Solutions, which like Hyundai is also South Korean. LG’s batteries are just not exclusive to Hyundai but it also supplies GM, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, including other brands within the Volkswagen and Daimler group. Volkswagen it seems is increasingly moving away from LG Energy Solutions with various investments it has in place, while GM is also about to deploy its ultium batteries, but Daimler is the one that doesn’t have any alternatives right now.
GM has gone through its cycle of recalls when it had to call back 69,000 Chevy Bolt’s. Similarly, Audi was also forced to recall 500 E-Tron SUVs. China’s Nio which also is a major player in EVs recalled nearly 5,000 ES8 SUVs after battery fire reports in 2019.
For Hyundai, the damage is quite substantial as it has bet big on EVs with new brands like the IONIQ. It will bear the loss of $900 million because of these recalls.
EVs don’t catch fire as rapidly as internal combustion vehicles, but since they are becoming a popular form of transport, more fires are being reported. Battery fires need to be dealt with in a different way as well as traditional methods don’t work, so training of first responders is also far behind.