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Hyundai Kona Electric recall requires battery replacement, costs $900M

Reportedly, Hyundai and battery maker LG Chem are working out how to share the cost of the expensive recall.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
2019 Hyundai Kona Electric
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2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

Putting in a new battery is a big deal.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Following a dotted series of battery fires and investigations in various countries, South Korean automaker will recall the Electric for all-out battery replacements. Reuters reported on the upcoming recall Wednesday, which will cost $900 million to execute. The sum makes it the most expensive recall involving an EV so far. Swapping out batteries isn't cheap, friends.

Hyundai confirmed the recall with Roadshow and noted specific announcements for various countries will come in the near future. The recall will first start in South Korea. "The decision reflects findings from an investigation led by the Korean government, which has revealed the possibility of short circuits in certain defective battery cells produced in LG Energy Solution's Nanjing plant leading to fires," the company said in a statement. The Ioniq EV is also included, as is the Elec City bus, Hyundai confirmed.

LG Chem did not immediately return Roadshow's request for comment on the recall, which covers 82,000 vehicles around the world. According to Reuters, the battery maker and automaker are currently hashing out a deal to split the $900 million cost associated with completely replacing batteries for the EVs.

Hyundai previously confirmed with Roadshow a recall for the Kona Electric was forthcoming, though it's understood it was largely meant to update battery software. Some cars may have received new battery packs, but it sounds like this recall will cover the main issue with replacement covered by the companies at no cost to owners.

It's not clear if this news will push back the arrival of the updated 2022 Kona Electric here in the US, which is scheduled to arrive at dealers this spring. The refreshed EV boasts an updated design, but its electric powertrain continues unchanged. A report from this past Dec. mentioned the automaker may pull the Kona Electric from South Korea altogether.

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