Two More Hyundai Kona EVs Burst Into Flames, Raise Concerns

Hyundai Kona EV fire South Korea
Image: Boryeong Fire Department

This month, two reports of Hyundai Kona EVs spontaneously bursting into flames have emerged, one from South Korea and the other from Norway

Last year, Hyundai had issued a worldwide recall for the Kona EV, involving almost 77,000 units of the electric SUV. The recall was due to a fire hazard, and the manufacture replaced batteries and related components on the affected cars. However, the woes don’t seem to have ended there, as more reports of Kona EVs spontaneously combusting are emerging internationally.

On June 18, a Hyundai Kona EV went up in flames unprompted in Boryeong, South Korea. As per local news reports, the vehicle was parked and not plugged into a charger when the fire started. Hyundai and LG Energy Solution have stated that they are investigating the cause of the fire, together with Korea Automobile Testing & Research Institute (KATRI).

The second fire happened in Oslo, Norway on June 21. To douse the flames, firefighters had to submerge the vehicle in a large container filled with water, after water sprays were unable to completely kill the fire. Similar to the incident in South Korea, the vehicle in question was simply parked and was not charging when the flames erupted.

Hyundai Kona EV fire Norway
Image: Oslo Fire and Rescue Service

Thankfully, no injuries were reported in these incidents. The Kona EV that spontaneously combusted in South Korea was reported to have been manufactured after March 2020 and was thus not subjected to the earlier recall. This is a major cause for concern and could affect the brand’s electric plans for the future, especially regarding the Ioniq 5.

Hyundai Kona EV is available with two powertrain options. The first one gets a 39.2 kWh battery (rated at 136 PS of peak power), while the second one consists of a 64 kWh battery pack (rated at 204 PS). In November last year, the Kona EV was given a midlife facelift, and the updated model was expected to make its way to India as well soon, where the pre-facelift model continues to be on sale.

However, it should also be noted that IC-engine vehicles also suffer from problems regarding spontaneous combustion. Such fires can be caused by electrical failures, fuel leaks, etc., and could result in major injuries, sometimes even death.