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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

Hybrid electric SUV recalled due to fire risk fault

Drivers of a hybrid electric SUV have been warned about a potentially dangerous manufacturing fault following a series of recent vehicle fires.

Owners of an Alfa Romeo hybrid SUV have been warned to contact the manufacturer after the discovery of a defect that "may result in a vehicle fire".

The official recall, issued on Tuesday, comes after two vehicle fires involving damaged electric car batteries in a week, including one that destroyed five vehicles at Sydney airport.

The fires occurred despite Australian research showing electric vehicles posed a significantly smaller fire risk than petrol or diesel cars.

Alfa Romeo's Tonale hybrid electric SUV is the latest vehicle subject to a recall after the discovery of a fault that could "increase the risk of injury or death" to its occupants.

"Due to a manufacturing defect, the 48-volt battery is susceptible to water ingress if submerged for extended periods," the federal transport department warning said.

"Water ingress can cause the battery to overheat which may result in a vehicle fire."

Owners of the vehicles, produced between 2022 and 2023, are advised to return the vehicle to a local dealer for inspection and repair.

The recall comes after a significant fire in Sydney last week, in which a damaged lithium-ion battery that had been removed from an electric car caught fire in an airport holding yard, destroying another four cars.

Firefighters were also called to a vehicle fire in Penrose, NSW, last week when a Tesla Model 3 electric car was damaged after crashing into debris that had fallen from a truck.

No one was injured in the accident.

Despite the incidents, data compiled by Australian group EV FireSafe showed electric vehicles were significantly less likely to catch fire than petrol or diesel cars, with a 0.0012 per cent chance compared to a 0.1 per cent risk.

Worldwide, 393 electric vehicle fires were verified between 2010 and June 2023, with the most common causes collisions, battery faults and submersion.

Data showed smaller electric mobility devices were more prone to fires, however, including battery-powered bicycles, scooters, skateboards, unicycles and hoverboards. 


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