Electric car shock: Ontario man told new battery would cost more than $50,000

Click to play video: '‘Kicked in the privates’: $50,000 electric battery quote'
‘Kicked in the privates’: $50,000 electric battery quote
A Stoney Creek, Ontario man who called Global News after his all-electric vehicle stopped working will now get money from the manufacturer toward a new one. Simrat Sooch was told by a Hyundai dealer it would cost more than $50,000 to install a new battery on his 2017 Ioniq, a repair he says made no economic sense. Sean O’Shea reports. – Nov 20, 2023

Simrat Sooch of Stoney Creek, Ont., was a true believer in electric vehicles.

“The first one I had was very reliable,” said Sooch, so he didn’t hesitate to trade up.

He bought a 2017 Ioniq made by Hyundai. Sooch was its second owner. The vehicle had already been driven 69,000 kilometres but the warranty covering the electric charging system and battery was good for 160,000 kilometres.

Sooch told Global News he was confident in the purchase.

“I figured I wouldn’t have any issues with it,” he said.

But in October, a warning light appeared on his instrument panel. He took the car to the dealer, but technicians couldn’t find a problem. The light went out.

Two weeks later, Sooch said the vehicle stopped charging and the Ioniq was back at the dealership.

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After diagnostic checks, he said technicians determined the battery needed to be replaced.

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The quoted cost, including the battery, installation and taxes came to more than $50,000.

The battery failure happened at 172,345 kilometres. The 160,000-kilometre warranty had recently run out.

“I felt like I got kicked in the privates,” Sooch said in an interview. He said he had two choices: pay to repair the vehicle or scrap it.

Sooch chose the latter because the cost of repairs exceeded the value of the vehicle.

He had approached Hyundai Canada, hoping it would pay for all or part of the repairs, even though the warranty had run out. He said he was directed back to the dealership and he had given up.

Global News contacted Hyundai and gave the Korea-based automaker several days to investigate Sooch’s case.

Jennifer McCarthy, Hyundai Canada’s national manager of public relations, said that “comprehensive diagnostic tests were not completed on the vehicle … (and the vehicle) … was scrapped by the customer before these diagnostic procedures could be completed, precluding a definitive assessment of the required service.”

She said the estimate provided to Sooch “was not representative of the likely actual cost in this case.”

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McCarthy said the case “should have been escalated immediately for additional review.”

“We sincerely apologize to Mr. Sooch for these lapses in communication and service,” she said.

McCarthy told Global News the company is prepared to “resolve this situation by paying fair market value for his vehicle either in cash or towards a new Hyundai, as part of our commitment to our customers.”

While automakers worldwide are gearing up to sell millions of new all-electric vehicles in the years ahead, many customers are sticking with conventional and hybrid vehicles because of concerns about the high cost of repairs when batteries fail.

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