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Hyundai is carrying out a major recall of its 2019-2020 Kona Electric and 2020 Ioniq Electric vehicles due to a risk of fire from the lithium-ion battery cells. 15 Kona vehicle fires have been reported so far.
The fire risk is a serious one, as the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is advising owners to “park their cars outside and away from homes, other structures and other flammable materials such as vegetation until their vehicles have been repaired.” The vehicles are prone to catch fire “while parked, charging and/or driving” and therefore need to be parked with caution. If you usually keep your Kona or Ioniq in a garage and it’s one of the affected models, then switch to parking it outside from now on.
The problem stems from an electrical short internally within the lithium-ion battery cells. Hyundai has committed to replacing the battery systems in what is thought to be over 82,000 vehicles, but as Reuters reports, owners are frustrated with the recall process. There’s a lack of clarity when it comes to telling owners when their vehicle is going in for repair, leaving them with a dangerous EV they have to be careful where to park.
In response to the complaints, Hyundai said, “Hyundai will continue striving to take necessary actions to prevent customer inconvenience from the ongoing recall.” It doesn’t help that there isn’t anything owners can do to mitigate the risk due to the location of the fault.
To find out if your Kona or Ioniq is part of the recall, visit NHTSA.gov/recalls and enter the 17-digit vehicle identification number (VIN). If it is, then the next step is to contact your local dealership and schedule a repair, which Hyundai will carry out for free. Until then, good luck finding somewhere safe to park it.
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