Forbes: Hyundai Safety Chief Talks Battery Fires, Reducing Traffic Deaths, Smarter Vehicles

Battery in Hyundai Ioniq 5 EV is being recharged. The company is taking steps to learn about safety challenges EVs may present. Photo by DEWHURST PHOTOGRAPHY

Forbes website published an article quoting Brian Latouf, Hyundai Motor North America’s Chief Safety Officer.

Regarding EV battery fires Forbes states Latouf’s response as, “the industry is still learning about the different engineering challenges EVs present.”

This is interesting response as EV Hyundai’s like the Kona Electric use lithium-ion polymer batteries, which was originally developed back in the 1970s. All lithium-ion type batteries have the capacity of becoming thermally unstable potentially causing a fire, albeit this occurrence is statistically unlikely. However the risk posed is great enough that the United States Transportation Safety Association prohibits airline passengers from packing spare lithium-ion batteries in their checked luggage. For all intense purposes the battery technology which is unsafe to travel in your checked baggage in a plane is currently under the floorboards of the trunk in EV powered passenger vehicles. But the “industry is still learning the different engineering challenges EVs present?” Hmmmm.

“We manage careful quality considerations in the construction of the cells, how they come into the modules and then are put into the assemblies. We also have battery management software, (BMS), that carefully monitors at the cell level voltage drop across each and every cell. If there’s a variation of a certain amount of voltage we’ll actively flag that as a diagnostic trouble code and we can also shut the battery from being recharged again if we feel one of the cells is not in a good state and needs servicing.” “We also have temperature sensors that can look for sudden heat fluxes in case there’s a potential fire occurring in which case you can isolate the battery, states Latouf.

Under Latouf’s tenure at Hyundai the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has recognized eleven Hyundai and four Genesis 2020 and 2021 models as top safety picks.

Other safety technology noted by Latouf include: Hyundai’s Rear Occupant Alert system which lets drivers know if a child or pet is still in the back seat after the vehicle is parked. Hyundai’s Highway Driver Assist (HDA) which maintains a prescribed distance to a vehicle ahead and helps center the vehicle in a traffic lane while driving, including while on curves.

To read the article click here.