IBreaking news yesterday, as Hyundai recall over 700 Kona’s in New Zealand following, recalls in Korea, North America, and Europe. Australia might be next.
Starting in mid-2019, we have seen reports of the Hyundai Kona’s high-powered batteries spontaneously catching fire, with now 13 recorded incidents to-date, including fires in Canada, Korea, and Austria. With the Kona being the second-highest selling electric vehicle in Australia, these fires bring up concerns for owner’s safety and wellbeing across the country. After events in New Zealand, it’s only a matter of time until we hear news on a countrywide recall.
Investigating this further, LG Chem, the creators of the Hyundai Kona’s battery, said: “the exact cause of the fire had not been determined and a re-enactment experiment conducted jointly with Hyundai had not led to a fire”. The battery is still likely at fault for these issues but the unknown nature how these cars catch fire means we must approach this problem delicately.
For the time being, Hyundai has been suggesting, across their global market, that people refrain from parking their Kona’s indoors and around flammable material. In a message to a concerned Australian owner, Hyundai stated: “[we] recommend the vehicle is parked away from flammable structures, for example not in a garage”. For your safety, we recommend you follow this advice.
It should be noted that supposedly, EVs are ten times less likely to catch fire than ICE vehicles, at least when discussing Teslas, one of the markets largest contributors. In a statement from Tesla Co-founder and CEO Elon Musk, he says “a gasoline tank has 10 times more combustion energy than our battery”, reassuring EV owners that their cars are much less likely to catch fire when compared to conventional combustion-powered vehicles.
So, though EVs are generally considered safe, if you own a Hyundai Kona, it’s probably best to keep it out of the garage for now; and keep an eye on the horizon for a possible recall in Australia.
Please stay safe!