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Electric Hyundai Kona is Blowing Up… Literally!

Hyundai may have been hoping that their Kona Electric would explode onto the electric car scene, but not like this: on Friday, a fire at a Montreal home may have occurred because the owner’s Hyundai Kona overheated and exploded.

Hyundai Kona Exploded

Piero Cosentino purchased a Hyundai Kona Electric back in March.  About to sit down to lunch on Friday, he heard an explosion, closely followed by the sound of the fire alarm going off.  Thick clouds of black smoke poured into the house from the door to the garage, and Cosentino rushed to turn off his breaker before dashing outside to assess the damage.

The explosion originated in the garage, and the force of the blast sent his garage door to the other side of the street.  A large hole gaped in his garage roof, and while the fire did not spread to the home, structural damage made the residence too dangerous to return to until after an investigation is completed.

A preliminary investigation completed by the Montreal Fire Department found that they could not determine any other possible cause for the explosion and fire besides the Hyundai Kona. 

“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,” said Louise Desrosiers, a Division Chief from the Montreal Fire Department, during an interview with Radio Canada.

Battery to Blame?

Cosentino claimed that his Kona was not charging at the time that the incident occurred and that it was not even plugged into the charging dock.  So what did cause the explosion?  

One of the most logical explanations would be that the battery was to blame.  While lithium batteries are one of the most efficient batteries on the market, they are also the most flammable.  One hypothesis is that the temperature of the battery in the Hyundai Kona suddenly rose and caused an explosive reaction. 

Montreal is in the midst of a heatwave, and temperatures on Friday topped out at 88° F (31° C); seeing as how a garage without air conditioning can be 10-18° F (5-10° C) warmer inside on a summer day, the battery in that car could very easily have gotten dangerously hot.  And seeing as how a leaking lithium battery can also react with moisture in the air and catch fire, it seems like the Kona may have been caught in the perfect storm. 

For now, we have no solid answers.  Both Hyundai and the Montreal Fire Department will continue to investigate the cause of the incident. 

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