U.S. safety regulators have opened an investigation into electric and hybrid vehicle batteries after five automakers issued recalls due to possible defects that could cause fires or stalling. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the probe covers more than 138,000 vehicles with batteries made by LG Energy Solution of South Korea.
General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Stellantis and Volkswagen have issued recalls since February of 2020, most due to internal battery failures that can increase the risk of fires.
The investigation is another bug in a growing global rollout of electric vehicles by all automakers to replace internal combustion vehicles to cut emissions and fight climate change. Ford and BMW also have recalled batteries in recent years. Also, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigated a series of fires in Tesla vehicles and said the high-voltage lithium-ion batteries pose safety risks to first responders after crashes.
In November of 2020, General Motors began a string of recalls that involved more than 140,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs from the 2017 through 2022 model years due to the “simultaneous presence of two rare manufacturing defects in the same battery cell.” The defect caused at least 10 fires, causing GM to warn owners to park the Bolts outdoors.