Hyundai Motor Co. is reviewing whether to expand a recall of its Kona electric vehicle globally following multiple reports of battery fires.
The South Korean automaker said in an emailed statement on Monday that it was in the final stages of filing a recall notice with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and was considering expanding the voluntary recall worldwide.
The issue comes as Hyundai bids to take a greater share in the market for fuel-free cars. Other EV makers including Tesla Inc., Porsche Automobil Holding SE, NIO Inc. and Audi AG have also carried out recalls and investigations in the past due to potential fire risks with their vehicles.
Hyundai said it is investigating if Kona Electric with overseas specifications requires a safety recall, and will announce recalls regionally or by a country, working closely with local authorities.
Yonhap News reported earlier Monday that Hyundai will recall 77,000 Kona EVs worldwide. The affected vehicles were produced between September 2017 and March 2020.
Some 16 cases of Kona EVs catching fire have been reported globally, including in Canada and Australia in 2019, according to Yonhap. One of the incidents took place in the South Korean city of Daegu, where a Kona vehicle parked in an underground lot caught fire.
Kona EVs will be recalled in South Korea beginning Friday, affecting 25,564 vehicles. South Korean authorities said damage in a battery separator posed a fire risk, though battery supplier LG Chem Ltd. denied there was a defect. LG said it is jointly investigating the cause of the fires with Hyundai.
Hyundai’s shares fell as much as 2.5 per cent on Monday, while LG Chem dropped as much as 3.2 per cent.
Tesla said an isolated battery fault caused a Model S to catch fire in a Shanghai parking lot last year. There have been reports of the same model catching fire in Hong Kong. In February, Porsche said one of its new Taycan electric cars caught on fire in a garage of a US customer, while Audi last year recalled an EV sold in the US citing risks of battery fire.