Hyundai is negotiating with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of South Korea to perform a recall of all Batteries in your fleet of Kona electric vehicles. The target is components manufactured by LG Chem, a subsidiary of LG Energy Solutions whose products have recently been involved in vehicle fires.
The replacement may also extend to two other Hyundai electric lines: Ioniq PHEV and Ioniq Electric. The estimated cost of replacing all batteries in all three models is more than $ 1,8 billion, in South Korea alone. If the recall is restricted to the Kona EV and its 77 units sold, the investment would be in US $ 540 million.
A problem with the battery cell separator would be primarily responsible for more than 15 Kona vehicle fires. Hyundai had previously announced an interruption in sales of the model in the United States, days after a recalled car caught fire.
This week, an electric bus from the automaker, which also uses LG Chem batteries, suffered a fire while returning to the garage after an inspection. LG's batteries will be exchanged for components from rival SK Innovation - which could be a problem if Hyundai wants to extend the recall to other countries, as the company is under investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
The charge: stealing trade secrets from LG Chem.
Hyundai is not the only one
General Motors is also handling its own recall of more than 68 vehicles in the U.S. The entire operation has been conducted discreetly, but the company has provided a brief update through a group of Chevy Bolt on Facebook.
The automaker is telling owners that a fix that will restore 100% of battery capacity "will be provided soon". Kona and Bolt use very similar battery cells; if Hyundai deems it necessary to replace all batteries in its cars, other manufacturers may also do the same.
LG Chem may have to bear two-thirds of the costs of generalized replacement. The company had sales of $ 24,98 billion last year - $ 11,7 billion of which in electric vehicle batteries alone.
The recall spend would have an impact, but it is not the main problem. LG is also unable to produce cells fast enough to meet the exchange demand. The company plans to double its production capacity in China, but the process could take up to two years to complete.