After a series of battery fires in their EVs, Hyundai is set to replace the LG-designed batteries

Reports from Korean media houses have revealed that Korean automaker Hyundai has plans to replace batteries in their Kona electric vehicle(EV), the Ioniq, and the Elec City Bus models. The replacement could cost the Seoul-based company about $1.4 billion. “Hyundai Motor has decided to replace the battery cells of its three electric vehicle models,” wrote the Korean Times.

“Initially, the company considered replacing battery cells for Kona EVs only. But as fires broke out in other electric vehicle models powered by batteries from LG Energy Solution, the carmaker has decided to expand the recall,” added Korean Times. According to the media report, Hyundai sold about 21,000 Ionic car brands in Korea alone. The Elec City Bus, the company’s first electric bus launched in 2010, has also been faced with a fire problem. On February 15, one of the electric buses caught fire.

“About 21,000 units of the Ioniq were sold in Korea alone. The carmaker has decided to include its electric bus in the recall as an Elec City bus caught fire on February 15. It sold 263 units of the electric bus. Including the Kona EVs, the total number of vehicles subject to the recall will top 100 000,” noted the media report.

However, Hyundai and LG have been fighting about the grounds for the recall. The battery company cannot agree with Hyundai whether to replace batteries in all EVs sold globally or restricted the replacement to Korean borders to save on the cost estimated to hit the $billion mark.

“Since October Last year, Hyundai Motor has been recalling 77,000 Kona EVs across the world after a number of vehicles caught fire,’ stated the Korean Times bulletin. “More than 10,000 Ioniq EVs and 400 Elec City electric buses using the same battery, produced by LG Energy Solution, were included in the initial recall.” Hyundai has been updating the battery management system of the replaced vehicles instead of identifying the battery fires’ root cause.

“The carmaker decided to apply additional measures to the vehicles after a Kona EV caught fire in Daegu, January 23, even after its BMS had been updated and an Elec City bus also burned in South Gyeongsang Province, February 15,” read the news release.

The transport ministry cited manufacturing glitches as the possible cause of the fires. LG denied these claims saying their joint review tests with the carmaker were successful. This issue is still under investigation by the ministry. In November last year, the Australian administration called for the recall of the Kona model. Other countries have also called for recalls of the same vehicle following a string of battery fires.

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