News/ Industry/ Audi e-Tron GT and RS e-Tron GT Recalled Over Potential Battery Fire Risk: A Cause for Concern?

Audi e-Tron GT and RS e-Tron GT Recalled Over Potential Battery Fire Risk: A Cause for Concern?

Audi's recent recall of the E-Tron GT and RS E-Tron GT models has cast a shadow over the German automaker's high-performance electric vehicles. While the news raises questions about potential cost-cutting measures or battery component issues, it's important to understand the situation and the steps Audi is taking to address it.

The Cause for Concern: Potential Battery Fire Risk

The recall stems from a potential defect in the high-voltage battery that could lead to electrical short circuits. These short circuits, in turn, increase the risk of overheating and, in the worst-case scenario, fire. It's crucial to note that there haven't been any reported fires with these vehicles as of yet. However, Audi is taking a proactive approach to ensure the safety of its customers.

The Shared Technology with Porsche Taycan

The issue first came to light in December 2023 with Porsche's Taycan model. Due to the shared technology and battery components between the two German siblings, Audi promptly launched its own investigation. This collaborative approach highlights the importance of information sharing within the automotive industry, especially when it comes to safety concerns. The batteries were contract manufactured by LG and the manufacturer also recently had a revamp.

The Recall Process: A Two-Pronged Approach

The recall encompasses a total of 1,042 e-Tron GT and RS e-Tron GT vehicles produced between 2022 and May 2023. Audi has implemented a two-phase recall process to address the issue:

Phase 1: Focused Investigation and Precautionary Measures (1013 Vehicles)

This phase targets the majority of recalled vehicles (around 1013). Due to ongoing investigations, a permanent fix isn't available yet. However, Audi is advising owners to limit charging to 80% until a solution is implemented. This precautionary measure helps mitigate the potential risk associated with a full battery charge.

Phase 2: Potential Battery Module Replacement (29 Vehicles)

The second phase focuses on a smaller group of vehicles (approximately 29). Here, Audi suspects faulty battery modules as the culprit behind potential short circuits.  The automaker will replace these modules free of charge for affected owners. However, due to the need for further analysis, Audi hasn't pinpointed the exact vehicles requiring replacement yet.

A Wider Context: Electric Vehicle Recalls and Fire Safety

It's important to remember that Audi isn't alone in facing electric vehicle (EV) recalls. Major American automakers like Ford and Chevrolet have also issued recalls for their F-150 Lightning and Bolt EV models, respectively. While EV fires garner significant online attention, it's worth noting that electric vehicles often have different fire characteristics compared to traditional gasoline-powered cars. Extinguishing them might require different techniques, such as large quantities of water or carbon dioxide-based methods. Additionally, the potential for a chain reaction fire exists in EVs and could burn for days.

The Road Ahead: Transparency and Customer Care

This recall serves as a reminder of the importance of ongoing vigilance in the EV industry. Audi's proactive approach and transparent communication with customers are commendable steps.  As the investigation progresses, providing clear updates and solutions to address the battery concerns will be crucial in maintaining customer confidence in the E-Tron GT and RS E-Tron GT models.

TopGear Magazine July 2024