Despite a recall of 77,000 vehicles last October, Hyundai is still apparently suffering from the specter of battery fires. The latest Hyundai Kona Electric Car-B-Q appears to have taken place in Olso, Norway on morning of the 21st.
It should be noted that, yes, internal-combustion vehicles also experience fires and at reportedly higher rates. Still, battery fires have long been a concern and, as we mentioned, the model involved here had already been recalled months ago, so the occurrence is unexpected.
Originally reported by Avisa Oslo – check out their piece for video and more images – there are not many details available at the moment, but it appears as though the car was parked and not charging. There were no injuries or any safety concerns beyond the presence of smoke. The local constabulary put out a message on Twitter about the incident, the machine-translation of which reads: "Oslo. Båhusveien. The emergency services are on site in connection with a report of a fire in an electric car. There is control on site and it is not burning now. Some smoke still from the car. No danger of spreading. Unknown cause of fire."
After spraying the vehicle down with water, firefighters covered it in a fire blanket, which seems to have considerably dampened the blaze. Still, a large container with water was brought in and the vehicle hoisted up and submerged inside.
Unfortunately, the fire in Norway isn't a completely isolated incident. Another Kona Electric fire was reported this morning in South Korea. This incident also involved a parked vehicle that appears not to have been charging. Relying on a machine translation of an article on segye.com, it appears quite possible this Kona Electric was manufactured after last March, so was not affected by the recall. Like the others, though, it used LG Energy Solution cells.
While the damage in these cases was quite contained, it's still too early to say how they may affect the brand. The Hyundai Kona Electric owner community on InsideEVs Forum shows a variety of responses to the ongoing situation. While some are quite happy with the efforts made by the Korean automaker to deal with the situation, it's certainly causing doubts in the minds of others about the safety of the Kona Electric, as well as upcoming products like the Hyundai Ioniq 5.
Hyundai's communications department hasn't yet spoken publicly about these incidents, but we'll report on their response when it occurs. While we sincerely hope these fires were sparked by some aberration unrelated to the vehicles or their batteries, we'll be keeping an eye open for any future flambés.
Image: Stig Kolstad, Avisa Oslo, Norway