The company told Reuters it would start replacing them next week in South Korea.
Although Kona Electric owners affected by a recall must have felt relieved when it announced it would replace the defective battery packs, they are not happy with the lack of information from Hyundai. Reuters spoke to some of them, and quite a few said they are so frustrated they’ll never buy another car from the Korean automaker.
One of these owners, identified only by his last name of Lee, said he could not recharge his car in a public charging station out of fear that his car could catch fire. He also complained that the software update to prevent the issue drastically cut its range. Lee is especially concerned about depreciation.
That’s a problem that has also affected Chevy Bolt EV owners. We have already told you David Baker’s story. He tried to sell his Bolt EV, which is waiting for the recall, and even used car places wished him good luck selling his car. According to him, the recall killed the Bolt EV market “almost overnight.”
Both the Kona Electric and the Bolt EV have the same cell supplier: LGES (LG Energy Solution). GM said its cells had a different separator, but Hyundai already blamed the supplier for the real issue, which would be a folded anode tab. We asked GM about that issue, and the company promised to get back to us once they had a proper assessment of the situation. We have not heard back from it since March 5.
To Reuters, Hyundai said the battery pack replacements would start next week in South Korea. However, this is precisely the information Kona EV owners are demanding and have not received so far. Another owner named only by his last name, Kim, said he did not have many EV options when he bought the Kona back in 2018. With more carmakers offering these cars, he said he would not go for Hyundai again.
Most owners interviewed by Reuters preferred not to identify themselves, concerned with privacy issues and possible retaliation from the car company. As we have reported last November, about 200 owners decided to sue Hyundai. Reuters now has the precise number: 173. The Korean carmaker is yet to officially provide the recall details to all the 75,680 Kona Electric owners affected by the issue.