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Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid recalled for power loss

Fewer than 3,000 vehicles are affected in the US.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

A plug-in hybrid vehicle that can't operate under electric power isn't much of a PHEV, and Hyundai's latest recall addresses exactly that.

Hyundai has issued a recall for 2,840 examples of the 2016-2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid. The vehicles in question carry build dates between July 31, 2015 and August 31, 2017 and were all built in Korea. According to the recall report, it's believed that 100 percent of recalled vehicles will carry the defect in question.

Might be smart to keep the vehicle operating in a more traditional hybrid mode until that switch can get swapped out. Unless, of course, you're looking for a reason to skip a day or two of work.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The problem comes from a part called a voltage protection device, which is normally used to help prevent the battery from exceeding its voltage limits. In "limited instances," the battery might swell during charging or discharging, which could activate the device and render the electric motor inoperative. If the vehicle is operating in pure EV mode at the time, it could prevent the vehicle from moving under its own power. This presents a safety issue, because a loss of motive power at speed could increase the change of a collision.

You'll know this happens when the electric motor stops working and the "Check Hybrid System" warning lamp appears in the gauge cluster.

Remedying the issue isn't too complicated. Dealers will remove the recalled component and replace it with a new battery management module with a revised overvoltage protection switch. Cars built after August 2017 already have the updated hardware.

Hyundai will notify dealers by the middle of March, and owner notifications will be sent via first-class mail starting in May.