Hyundai Investigating Kona EV "Explosion" in Canada
Over the weekend, CBC reported a Hyundai Kona Electric had exploded in Montreal — blowing the roof and door off its owner’s garage. Piero Cosentino claimed he saw black smoke coming from the building on Friday afternoon and quickly turned off the breaker to avoid further damage. Unfortunately that was enough, the car became engulfed in flames and popped.
“If we were in front of the garage door, we could have been in the hospital,” Cosentino said.
The damage to the building was extensive due to what was referred to as an explosion. Most of the initial reporting stated that the vehicle was not plugged in, citing claims from the owner, with local authorities faulting the car almost immediately.
“It was a fully electric vehicle, and there was nothing around that could have caused the explosion. We will be following up … closely with the owner to understand the problem in anticipation of other cases,” Louise Desrosiers, a Division Chief from the Montreal Fire Department, told CBC/Radio-Canada.
VÉHICULE ÉLECTRIQUE: La batterie d’un Hyundai Kona aurait explosé alors que le véhicule était stationné dans un garage résidentiel. La rue Montigny fermée à la circulation automobile le temps de l’intervention. L’explosion a projeter la porte de garage chez le voisin. pic.twitter.com/ud5rJS7PpV
— Mathieu Wagner (@MWagnerRC) July 27, 2019
Subsequent reports have been less clear cut. “It is still too early to draw conclusions as to what may have caused the incident,” Gabrielle Fontaine-Giroux of the Montreal Fire Department told Automotive News. “The [department] is ensuring proper follow-up with electric vehicle experts.”
Presently, there’s no consensus as to whether the EV (purchased just months prior) was actually at fault or if it had truly been left unplugged. However the explosion claims appear legitimate. Photographs from the scene show the garage minus one door and roof. Meanwhile, the Kona was heavily charred in regions one would find the most meaningful electric components.
Thus far, the general rule has been that battery electric vehicles are no more of a fire hazard than gasoline-powered cars. But a recent “rash” of EV-related fires in China has drummed up concerns that the industry is not taking the proper precautions. While reports of lithium-ion batteries catching fire (most often due to overheating during charging spells) have gone up, there’s really not much to suggest this is a widespread problem damning the technology. It does encourage one to raise an eyebrow, however, as most of the incidents occur under mysterious circumstances during routine operations.
Hyundai Canada said it was in contact with the Kona’s owner and was also investigating the cause of the fire. “We are working with authorities and fire investigators in Montreal to understand the root cause of the incident, as this is not yet known. As is always the case, the safety of our customers is our first priority and we will push to fully understand the issue as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson explained.
Fire investigators hope to have something definitive soon.
ToolGuy on Jul 30, 2019
Relevant movie quote: "Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it!" - Jeff Spicoli Alarmingly, the intact Kona in the picture above appears to be molting (one wonders what features were deleted to cover the cost of redundant taillight assemblies).
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