Exploding Kona Electric

Discussion in 'Hyundai Kona Electric' started by apu, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. Brennan Raposo

    Brennan Raposo Well-Known Member Subscriber

    So, crazy story...
    I work with this gentleman's best friend. He sent me an email over the weekend when he heard the news of his friend car because he knew I had one too.
    I asked him to have his friend call me when he is able to but apparently he's still in shock.

    Based on the photos, it doesn't appear that the fire started in the battery - I know I'll be accused of grasping straws - but if this is found to be related to the Inverter unit (EPCU) which appears to be related to the hissing noise many of us are experiencing - we have a huge safety recall on our hands!

    When he gets in touch with me, I'm going to ask him if he experienced this hissing noise as well.
    electriceddy and Domenick like this.
  2. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    While I'm still puzzled as to how the battery could have caused this big a mess, I'm even more at a loss to see how an inverter could explode...especially with this kind of force.

    Perhaps you should let your friend know that their friend might find the Forum helpful (and also we'd love to hear whatever info he might have that isn't public yet, ie, did the integrity of metal casing of the battery pack look compromised?). :)
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  3. Brennan Raposo

    Brennan Raposo Well-Known Member Subscriber

    I do think the battery inevitably failed. But I don't think it started the catastrophe.

    My thought is that the inverter failed/overheated, causing a small fire which burned for some time. Enough time to essentially make the entire front-end of the car disappear. I think with the built up heat - the battery eventually failed. The chemical runaway of Lithium when exposed to oxygen is huge. The potential energy would be more than enough to blow a garage door off it's tracks. Adding water only makes things worse.

    I hope he gets back to me soon as I'd like more details.

    Domenick likes this.
  4. electriceddy

    electriceddy Well-Known Member

    Says something for installing a smoke detector in your garage ( obviously communicating with the home smoke system)- no need for carbon monoxide detector with Kona EV
    Brennan Raposo and Domenick like this.
  5. Domenick

    Domenick Administrator Staff Member

    Yes. Garages should always have a smoke detector, regardless of what's parked in them.
    Brennan Raposo and electriceddy like this.
  6. If it was not charging then it seems unlikely any of the power electronics could be at fault, though the periodic 12V battery top-up does enable the HV battery supply for about 20 mins every 24 hours. This periodic top-up could be a plausible explanation why it "spontaneously" failed.
    All the electronics are in cast metal enclosures so hard to see how even a serious issue in there could make it out to set fire to anything else.
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  7. electriceddy

    electriceddy Well-Known Member

    Connectors (c/w bad or intermittent contact) external to the enclosures is what crosses my mind .
    Brennan Raposo likes this.
  8. Maybe, but current during 12V top-up would be way less than when running. Water in a HV connector is another possible, but hard to see how it would spread so far.
  9. Rats chewing HV cable?
    electriceddy likes this.
  10. XtsKonaTrooper

    XtsKonaTrooper Active Member

    Personally, i think the 12v battery exploded being the primary and as the fire spread, caused the EV battery to start on fire (secondary), which resulted in the intense heat at the back windows and tires. By then the fire boys got there and were aabl to quickly contain it.
    If the EV battery started it, it wouldnt have been so easy to put out.
  11. Although it's plausible that the 12V battery could start burning when the top-up charge is happenning, it's hard to see how a burning 12V battery could spread downwards - it's fairly high up, and not much in the way of combustibles close to it.
    XtsKonaTrooper likes this.
  12. XtsKonaTrooper

    XtsKonaTrooper Active Member

    True but there is alot of damage in the engine area and it looks like the front hood is non existent, possibly what slammed the garage door.
    Id say, the 12v somehow sent a surge to the EV battery somehow and the EV battery then caught on fire.
    Clearly the initial explosion, was at the front end.
  13. How can a 12v battery send a surge to a 300-odd one?
    Any overcurrent or overvoltage during top-up charge should be protected against by the DC-DC converter
  14. electriceddy

    electriceddy Well-Known Member

    Good point
  15. dan17

    dan17 New Member

    Transport Canada said they would give an update Tuesday or Wednesday morning (I assumed they meant this week) but I have yet to see anything. Anyone see anything from Hyundai or Transport Canada? Other than they are working together...

    Still, seems odd they cleared the scene so quickly (same day, right?) before there was a thorough investigation of the garage / car before it was towed.

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
    Domenick likes this.
  16. victor_2019

    victor_2019 Active Member

    Canadian versions of the honda Clarity come with a heat pump to heat the battery in the winter while the US version does not.

    so yes, it's an option that auto manufacturers have for cold climates. don't be surprised if Canadian Konas are different from american ones.

    EDIT: in fact US konas do not come with a battery heating systems while the Canadian one do. So yes, the canadian models have an extra heatpump loop to heat the battery up in winter


    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
  17. apu

    apu Well-Known Member

    I am fully aware that Canadian Konas have a heatpump and additional looping. My point to poster Engnrng was that the AC systems and coolant loop is part of the heat pump, there are no dedicated additional compressors, condensers, or evaporators dedicated to heat pump activity.
    Esprit1st likes this.
  18. XtsKonaTrooper

    XtsKonaTrooper Active Member

    If you look at the front picture of the charging port area, the cap is missing from the j1772 port, while the cap below it, is still intact.
    Now that makes ya wonder.
    He also has an ac outlet outside, just to the right of the garage door. If you also look to the right of the outlet, and near the the concrete foundation, is what appears to be a wire or possibly an extension cord.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
    Jared Potter likes this.
  19. XtsKonaTrooper

    XtsKonaTrooper Active Member

    Something else conflicting in the news reports, one report says, he first seen the smoke, then another says, he heard an explosion, fire alarm went off and then seen smoke from The door leading to the garage.
  20. XtsKonaTrooper

    XtsKonaTrooper Active Member

    Another thing i noticed, if you look at the garage door across the street. The bigger piece has a blast, similar to a shotgun blast on the right side of it, which would be in proximity of the 12v battery area and the charging door area. Further to note, on the inside of the garage door, there appears to be no smoke damage or scorching, just one direct hit blast area.

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