There’s quite a bit of debate about how many lines of code it takes make the modern car run. A former GM engineer said the Chevrolet Volt contained 10 million lines. The number “100 million lines” has showed up everywhere from an IEEE article in 2009 to a Porsche article in 2021. In 2016, Ford said its new F-150 contained 150 million lines. Jaguar Land Rover said in 2019 that autonomous vehicles will need 1 billion lines of code. So no matter the number, there’s no debate that the amount is “a lot.” Which means there’s no debate that there are going to be more unintended software errors as vehicles get more modern. Jalopnik found out the 2022 and 2023 Hyundai Ioniq 5 AWD trim caught a bug after a factory update in December 2022 known as Service Campaign T9Q. In this case, a revision billed as an improvement to battery preconditioning had the effect of making Eco mode practically unusable.
Jalopnik‘s experience happened with a press car — an Ioniq 5 that Hyundai loaned to the outlet for a week to review. The crossover was fine in almost all of its driving modes. In Eco, though, it became “unacceptably slow,” the writer discovering this when making a left turn across traffic. Flooring the throttle didn’t get acceleration above a crawl until the car reached around 15 or 20 miles per hour.
Turns out some owners have been complaining about this ever since a dealer-installed software update late last year. On December 29, a member at the Ioniq Forum started a thread called “Preconditioning update, disappointing change to power curve in Eco.” Some updated cars get handicapped, like one owner who wrote, “After the update, even when flooring it getting to 60 takes over 10 seconds.” Even the least-potent Ioniq 5 shouldn’t need much more than 5 seconds for the task. However, plenty of other owners have said their cars show no change after the new software.
There is definitely an issue, though. A Hyundai rep confirmed to Jalopnik that the preconditioning changes can have an impact on Eco mode for 2022 models that got the update and some 2023 models that had the new software installed at the factory. A new update to correct the previous update is on the way, the rep writing, “Beginning February 27, 2023, Hyundai dealers will be able to perform this VCU software update on affected 22MY IONIQ 5 AWD vehicles with an Eco mode complaint.”
Confusion remains among owners and between owners and dealers. The note from the Hyundai rep didn’t mention 2023-model-year vehicles, so some 2023 Ioniq 5 owners wonder if a cure awaits them on February 27. The T9Q update appears to have revised names for certain functions, changing a on onscreen “Winter” identification into “Battery Conditioning Mode,” and owners aren’t sure which one they have and which one should work.
What might be a bigger takeaway about the issue than the Eco Mode problem is that automakers are going to have to convince their dealers to turn service departments into software company customer service departments (or much better than that, ideally). Some owners say their dealers didn’t install the update correctly, but the dealer won’t resolve the issue and a different dealer won’t touch the car because the issue shows “resolved” in the system so the second dealer wouldn’t get paid by Hyundai for making an effort. That leaves owners in forums trying to sleuth out what to tell their dealer about how the original update should have been installed. Seeing forum posts about a really cool car that include lines like, “Current TSB instruction said update with latest version which is event #913 for BMS but event #892 should be selected. In order to do that they need to do manual mode which requires password then manually select BMS ROM ID 540x,” … well, let’s just say that’s not what you want.
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