[Infostock Daily=Senior Reporter Kim Jong-hyo] It has been reported that Hyundai Motor's electric city bus, Elec City, was burned. The investigation for the Elec City fire is expected to focus on battery issue.
Hyundai Motor has decided to replace the troubled Kona EV battery system completely due to a series of fires.
It appears that a batter provider LG Energy Solution is more responsible for Hyundai EV fires at first.
I inquired with a high-ranking official of LG Group if there were similar cases reported from global automakers using LG batteries.
The answer was, "No such case has been reported so far".
Interesting thing is nothing has been decided about the contribution ratio between two companies for the Kona EV battery replacement cost. LG is not willing to pay more than half of the cost. There is also a nuance that it is rather unfair for LG.
In the meanwhile, Hyundai Motor submitted the Kona EV recall plan to the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
The joint investigation of the Kona EV fire by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Hyundai Motor, and LG Energy Solution (formerly LG Chem) has yet to be announced. The Ministry keeps repeating that the investigation result will be announced soon.
Let's talk about how others in the industry think about the issue. Many industry officials are suspicious of defects in the Hyundai's battery management system (BMS).
BMS is one of the cores of electric vehicles. If the BMS is turned out to be defective, it could be a huge blow for Hyundai, which is proud of having its own EV platform.
That is why abrupt decision about the Kona recall plan including replacing replacement of all batteries does not add up. The recall plan is already late, thus Hyundai Motors could have decided it after the investigation result.
In my experience, the Korean regulatory body does not blindly accept the regulatee's correction plan. It is not difficult to assume that there has been a prior communication between Hyundai Motor and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. Keep in mind that Hyundai Motor is one of the most important regulated customers of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
Hyundai Motor is also one of the biggest customers of LG batteries. LG is looking forward to negotiating compensation with SK Innovation these days. LG needs to get the maximum amount of compensation to cover unexpected loss due to the battery replacement cost.
Where is the Hyundai Motor's control tower for the EV fire? According to my source and information, Chairman Chung Eui-sun is taking care of it himself because of the gravity of the issue.
However, Hyundai is busy with finger pointing at LG rather finding the root cause of the issue and resolving it.
Reporter Kim Jong-hyo firstname.lastname@example.org