Audi recalls electric SUV

2019-06-11 00:48:43

Audi has issued a recall in the USA for its first all-electric vehicle - the e-tron SUV - due to the risk of a battery fire.

The company issued the voluntary recall of approximately 540 cars already delivered to customers due to a risk that moisture could seep into the battery cell through a faulty seal on the wiring harness, Audi of America spokesman Mark Dahncke told Bloomberg.

In a statement released by Audi of America, the company said that the recall is in response to a "potentially faulty seal that may allow moisture to enter the battery compartment which could lead to a short circuit or in extreme cases to a thermal event."

The company isn't aware of any fires or injuries because of the flaw, which affects a total of 1,644 models in total. The remaining affected vehicles have yet to be delivered to customers.

While the lithium-ion battery technology that powers EVs is still evolving and there is no consensus on safe system design, electric vehicles are no more prone to fires than petrol-powered cars (and might be less so, according to America's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

In fact Audi recalled 75,000 petrol engined cars just last month due to a potential fuel injection fault that could pose a fire risk and it is far from alone, with Ford, Hyundai and Toyota all issuing recalls for more than a million vehicles each due to fire risk in the past few years.

The e-tron isn't the first of the new wave of "Tesla fighting" premium EVs to be recalled, with the Jaguar I-Pace recently being recalled due to a potential fault in its regenerative braking system.

Even Tesla itself has suffered a spate of unexplained spontaneous fires in some of its cars recently. While it has yet to issue a recall, the company did release an over-the-air software update for battery charge and thermal management "out of an abundance of caution."

According to Audi there have been five instances globally where a battery fault light turned on because of the moisture issue and it began contacting e-tron owners in the USA last week, saying it should have a repair available by August.

"We are applying an abundance of caution as no such incidents [fires] have been reported globally," Audi said in its statement.

"Audi e-tron vehicles unaffected by the recall remain available for delivery and our reservation system remains open to receive customer reservations."

Audi new Zealand is currently in the process of showing the e-tron to its local customers and has advised Stuff that the recall doesn't affect local cars, so the launch date of July remains unaffected.

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