Laguna Hills, CA – August 22, 2019 – Volkswagen Group says it will recall certain Audi E-Tron electric automobiles after discovering that the sport utility vehicle’s battery may pose a fire hazard. The problem is related to moisture-rich air which could seep into the structure that holds the battery and cause an adverse reaction. VW says it will reach out to owners to brief them of what they should do to resolve this issue when the time comes.
Volkswagen AG, the parent company of Audi, may recall an estimated 7,000 E-Tron automobiles worldwide due to fears that its onboard battery may start a fire, Bloomberg reported. According to the spokesperson Mark Dahncke, a small-scale voluntary Audi E-Tron recall was initially ordered – affecting 540 vehicles – but the company now believes the problem may impact more luxury models than it initially determined.
Triggering this decision are built-in flaws within the E-Tron’s cell wall. In certain circumstances, moisture – such as condensation – could come into contact with the battery through a wiring harness, which is believed to be the source of the issue, Bloomberg reported. Approximately 1,644 E-Trons were shipped from the company’s corporate headquarters, roughly a third of which have since been purchased by consumers, Dahncke stated. VW noted affected E-Trons that remain unsold will be fixed so the problem isn’t passed on to buyers.
Timeline of Events
The E-Tron SUV is VW’s very first electric vehicle offering, which went on sale in April 2019 in the U.S. It’s been a rather tumultuous first few months, however, as at least five instances have been brought to the company’s attention in which battery problems led to inexplicable “check engine” dashboard alerts for motorists. Because some of these reports emanated from outside the U.S., the Audi E-Tron recall may reach 7,000 globally, a substantial portion of which would likely affect customers in Germany, said Audi spokesperson Udo Ruegheimer. That said, the company is unaware of any accidents or injuries stemming from this issue.
As for Audi of America, the luxury automaker wants to get out ahead of this issue, indicating as such in a statement to Jalopnik.
“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,” Audi explained. We are applying an abundance of caution … The recall repair is expected to become available in August 2019.”
Audi and its parent company VW have a reputation to uphold with the E-Tron. The luxury electric SUV recently received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick+ designation, the highest rating possible. E-Tron scored “good” in several different crash testing classifications, include overlap front, driver-side small overlap front, roof strength, side, passenger-side small overlap front and head restraints. It also received a “superior” score for its automatic emergency braking.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen Group is dealing with other recalls beyond the most recent Audi E-Tron recall. In partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automaker pulled nearly 138,900 various Audi brand nameplates from the marketplace in July over defective air bags, including the A3 Cabriolet, S3 Sedan and RS3. Model years ranged from 2016 to 2019. Mailers informing owners were just recently issued.
Although neither VW nor Audi know the precise date for when the recall begin, E-Tron owners impacted will receive a loaner vehicle and an $800 cash card to cover the cost of gas while their automobiles get serviced, Bloomberg reported.
For more information on this or other recalls past or present, visit MotorSafety.org.