‘Completely Unresponsive’: US Regulators Open Probe Into EVs That Suddenly Lose Acceleration

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U.S. auto regulators have opened a preliminary safety investigation into a Hyundai electric vehicle (EV) model which has received numerous safety complaints for suddenly losing the ability to accelerate while on the road, according to Reuters.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating about 40,000 2022 Hyundai IONIQ 5 EVs after the agency received at least 30 complaints from drivers who reported a dangerous and sudden loss of acceleration while driving the vehicles, according to Reuters. Drivers have reported hearing a “popping” noise, followed by a warning notification on the car’s digital dashboard and a subsequent loss of power which spans a partial reduction to a complete loss of acceleration power, according to Reuters. (RELATED: It Will Be Years Before EVs Are As Affordable As Gas-Powered Vehicles, Auto Exec Says)

The NHTSA said that it conducted interviews with affected consumers to confirm the details of the acceleration loss incidents, but it has not identified any accidents or injuries associated with the recurring problem, according to Reuters. The problem is thought to be the result of too much electrical current flowing through the vehicle’s chargers into its transistors, which in turn damages the vehicle’s charging system and ability to regain charge, according to Reuters.

One driver claimed in a report that he was using the car’s “highway assist” setting and traveling at a speed of 75 mph when “the car became completely unresponsive” on the freeway, according to Reuters. At the time of the incident there was a large truck behind him and another in the lane to his right, according to Reuters. “The car stopped accelerating, and (he) was unable to resume driving. (He) was forced to coast to a stop on the side of the highway,” the driver added in the report, according to Reuters.

A separate incident report describes a similar loss of acceleration in California. The driver heard a loud “pop” from inside the vehicle, and “within a few seconds (the) car lost speed rapidly, from 55 mph to 25  then a second later 22 mph,” according to the report.

Hyundai has acknowledged the preliminary safety probe into the EVs in question, stating that it will cooperate with the NHTSA inquiry, according to Reuters. The Korean auto company added that it plans to roll out a July service campaign to update software in the impacted vehicles and replace the deficient charging systems if necessary, according to Reuters.

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