Electric bus using LG battery bursts into flames

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Electric bus using LG battery bursts into flames

Hyundai Motor's Elec City, an electric bus powered by an LG Energy Solution battery, caught fire on Tuesday in Changwon, South Gyeongsang. [YONHAP]

Hyundai Motor's Elec City, an electric bus powered by an LG Energy Solution battery, caught fire on Tuesday in Changwon, South Gyeongsang. [YONHAP]

 
An electric bus powered by LG Energy Solution’s lithium-ion battery caught fire in Changwon, South Gyeongsang on Tuesday amid an ongoing investigation into multiple fires last year that involved the same type of batteries from LG.
 
The roof of Hyundai Motor’s Elec City, an electric bus manufactured in 2019, caught fire while in use in Changwon. Batteries are stored in the roof of commercial buses, while in cars they are stored under the floor.
 
The bus was completely destroyed by the fire, but no injuries were reported.  
 
The Elec City bus uses LG Energy Solution’s 256 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion polymer batteries that can run 319 kilometers per charge. The model first launched in 2017 and 540 units have been sold nationwide since then.
 
“Regarding the fire, we requested an investigation from the Korea Automobile Testing & Research Institute,” said an official from Korea’s Transport Ministry on Tuesday. “The investigation will look into whether the fire broke out inside the battery cell or outside.”
 
The accident came amid an ongoing investigation by Korea's transport ministry into the cause of the fire that lead to a global recall of Hyundai Motor’s Kona Electric last October.
 
Hyundai Motor recalled some 77,000 Kona Electrics globally last year after some 15 fires were reported in and outside of Korea. The cause of the fire hasn’t been confirmed yet, but there was more than one recall last year involving LG Energy Solution's lithium-ion batteries.
 
General Motors recalled some 70,000 Chevy Bolt EVs last year over a potential fire risk after some five fires were reported. The Chevy Bolt EV uses LG Energy Solution's pouch battery cells.  
 
LG Energy Solution didn't have an official comment regarding Tuesday's fire.
 
The result of the investigation into the Kona Electric fires is expected to be announced soon. 
 
The transport ministry had suspected the high-voltage battery system to have caused the fire in the Konas, but LG Energy Solution at the time denied the allegation, saying that there were no fires during a simulation under similar conditions.
 
BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]
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