After India, S.Korea calls for strict safety standards over EV fires

Seoul/New Delhi: After India, the government and car manufacturers in South Korea have to put a bigger focus on the safety of battery packs as a series of recent battery fires may drive down demand for electric vehicles (EVs) and have a negative impact on the burgeoning EV market, according to experts.

South Korea currently has about 400,000 registered EVs, accounting for 1.6 per cent of the country’s registered passenger and commercial vehicles, amid automakers’ accelerating electrification push in recent years.

But battery fires in some EV models have sparked grave concerns among consumers over the safety of pure electric cars, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“The demand for safety in EVs is growing bigger than that for extended driving range due to some recent battery fire incidents,” Choi Woong-chul, a professor who teaches automotive engineering at Kookmin University, said in a seminar on the sidelines of the 10th International Electric Vehicle EXPO (IEVE).

The number of recalls involving car battery fires jumped to 67 in Korea in 2022 from three in 2018 as carmakers launch more EV models to meet market demands, Shin & Kim LLC law firm said, citing data from the Korea Automobile Testing & Research Institute (KATRI).

The number of recalled EVs also soared to 205,344 from 12,264 during the same period. The affected EVs include all-electric and a tiny number of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles, KATRI data showed.

“Faced with public criticism, carmakers have made ‘incomplete’ recalls in many cases of recalls in regard to high-voltage EV batteries,” Lee Kwang-bum, an adviser at the law firm, said in the seminar.

The government, carmakers and related parties need to come up with measures to prevent such battery fires from taking place in order not to lose consumers’ trust in EVs and other battery-based future mobility solutions, EV-ALL Co CEO Lee Hoo-kyung said.

Last year, after several incidents of electric vehicle fires, the Indian government ordered a committee to investigate the matter over safety concerns.

The Road & Transport Ministry later introduced additional safety provisions in the battery safety standards.


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