Owners Say Hyundai And Kia Isn't Dealing Well With Electric Motor Issue

Kia’s E710 and Hyundai’s E700 motors are almost the same; Hyundai may stop selling the Kona Electric in South Korea.

The news world is deeply interconnected. Publishing anything often leads us to other stories that are as relevant as the original ones. When we told you Consumer Reports was downgrading electric cars’ reliability due to the issues some of them presented, one of these problems involved the bearing of Kia electric motors. One reader called our attention to it and showed more buyers were concerned about that – including Hyundai Kona Electric owners.

The video above shows what the issue is: turn on the sound and pay attention to the clunking the electric motor makes. It almost sounds like a combustion engine in a way, as if a piston was moving up and down. The problem appears at low speeds and in cars with relatively low mileage.

It was posted at the InsideEVs Forum by the user blakehass, who said his Hyundai was making the same noise with only 1,600 miles on the odometer. Another user compares the noise to the one the “Wheel of Fortune” makes, which is an accurate way to describe it.

The motors are being replaced with E711 and E701 or even E702 units, which would indicate respectively that the Niro and the Kona are getting revised powertrains. Kia itself told Consumer Reports only 2019 model year vehicles were affected and that it provided a modification to handle that. The reports at the InsideEVs Forum mention 2018 and 2020 vehicles that are also affected.

We asked Hyundai and Kia for an explanation on the issues until December 18 but received nothing so far. What we learned on this very day was that Hyundai would be considering to halt Kona EV sales in the South Korean market after two recalls.

The first one is related to multiple battery pack fires, most of them in Hyundai’s home market. The company is currently facing a class-action lawsuit because of that. The second recall relates to a software issue that affects the brakes of the Kona Electric, the Kona Hybrid, and the Nexo FCEV.

If that is not just a rumor, it would be a weird move from Hyundai. The company has recently revealed a dedicated EV platform – the E-GMP – and created a subbrand for its electric cars that will be called Ioniq. Halting sales of the Kona Electric may sound it is backing out of the EV market.

Should Hyundai confirm that, it may decide to do the same in other markets, especially if that relates to something the company cannot fix. Regardless of why, one thing the Korean company and Kia owe their customers is an explanation about the electric motor bearings issue and how they plan to solve it. We’re waiting.

Sources: InsideEVs Forum and Automotive News

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