Kia will be contacting owners of certain 2015-2019 Kia Soul EVs about a problem that could result in a short circuit in the high voltage battery pack and a potential vehicle fire.
Kia first became aware of the problem in May 2022 when they received reports of smoke from the battery vents located under the passenger seat on a 2017 Kia Soul EV. Kia records showed that the vehicle’s high-voltage battery had been previously replaced under warranty. In October Kia received a second report, involving a 2018 Soul EV. The customer reported the smell of smoke just before the vehicle stalled. Kia performed CT scans and a tear-down analysis for both vehicles but the results were inconclusive due to thermal damage and water intrusion from fire suppression.
As Kia investigated the first two reports they received a third customer complaint of popping noises and smoke coming from the cup holders of a 2018 Soul EV in Hawaii. Kia and the battery supplier inspect vehicle #3 and performed a tear down analysis which found the heat damage was limited to the battery case assembly. The preliminary investigation results were inconclusive and the battery was shipped to the manufacturer for further analysis.
According to the defect report, an electrical short between the anode and cathode of the battery cells can occur with the high-voltage battery pack assembly case. The cause of the electrical short circuit is unknown but believed to be caused by abnormally excessive precipitate within the battery cells.
Although the cause of the electrical short circuit is unknown, Kia has decided to recall all 2018-2019MY Soul EV vehicles equipped with an E400 battery and certain 2015-2017MY Soul EV vehicles that had the high voltage battery replaced under warranty with E400 battery.
Dealers will update the battery management system software with new software that will illuminate the EV warning light, limit charging capacity, and reduce vehicle power if an abnormal voltage is detected. If this occurs, the battery will be replaced. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed on May 26, 2023. Kia’s number for this recall is SC267 and the NHTSA campaign number is 23V-218.
There have been three (3) thermal incidents limited to the battery case assembly with no injuries, no crashes, and no fatalities.