Hyundai Kona EV owners facing battery issues & breakdowns – Report [Update]

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation has announced that it has decided to recall the Hyundai Kona EV units produced from 22 March 2019 to 10 December 2020. The Beijing-Hyundai joint venture company manufactures it there and sells it as Hyundai Encino EV.

The national quality development bureau of China has recognized an issue with the Integrated Electronic Brake (IEB) system of the Hyundai Kona EV. The faulty IEB system may not detect the signal of the vehicle’s sensors normally. So, if the distance required to brake increases as per the system’s understanding mistakenly, the vehicle could face the risk of collision. Beijing-Hyundai will upgrade the software of the IEB system.

On the 24th of last month, a report on TeamBHP said that many Hyundai Kona EV owners in India are facing issues with their electric SUV which renders them undrivable.

The issue starts with a warning on the MID which highlights a “Check electric vehicle system” in amber along with a caution symbol. After this warning, most of the Konas become undrivable, with the exception of one owner stating that the car can be driven after a restart.

Hyundai Kona EV instrument cluster India breakdown
The Hyundai Kona EV first gives a warning, after which it can become undrivable.

Other owners have had to tow their electric Konas to the service center. One TeamBHP member states there are as many as 7 Kona electric vehicles at the service center in Pune, all with the same issue. ElectricVehicleWeb could not independently verify this claim.

The issue is expected to be with the Kona’s battery system, and the entire battery system could need a replacement; Hyundai India is awaiting confirmation from its headquarters in South Korea, and the replacement could take up to a month, TeamBHP reported.

Additionally, Hyundai India said earlier the same month that it is recalling 456 units of the Kona sold in India “to inspect possible potential of certain electrical deficiencies in the high-voltage battery system.” In October 2020, South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Automobile Safety Research Institute (KATRI) directed Hyundai to recall over 25,000 units of the Kona EV.

As per the recall, affected units of the electric SUV would be inspected for certain electrical deficiencies in the high-voltage battery system. According to reports from the South Korean media this week, Hyundai is considering halting sales of the Kona in its home market, at least until the issues are sorted.

2021 Hyundai Kona Electric facelift front
The 2021 Hyundai Kona EV (facelift) was revealed in South Korea in November 2020, and is expected to launch in India this year.

In November 2020, Hyundai revealed the Kona EV facelift for Europe with revised looks and updated features, which could be launched in India sometime next year if the company is able to fix its reputation.

There is a possibility that post the lifecycle of the current generation Hyundai Kona, the company may not opt to continue the electric variant, and instead focus on its electric-sub brand Ioniq to launch future electric cars and SUVs. The first offering from this brand, the Ioniq 5, is due to launch in the coming weeks, and debuts Hyundai Motor’s all new E-GMP platform which will be a stablemate on future Hyundai, Kia and Genesis EVs.