Nikola Recalls About 209 Battery-Electric Trucks After Fire Probe

Nikola said that it has recalled about 209 Class 8 battery electric trucks following two battery fires and has placed a temporary hold on new battery-electric vehicle sales until a resolution is in place. However, the recall does not affect the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle currently in production as the truck’s battery pack has a different design.

According to preliminary findings from a third-party investigator, a coolant leak inside a single battery pack was found to be the probable cause of the truck fire at the company’s headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona on June 23, 2023. The findings were further corroborated by a minor thermal incident that impacted one pack on an engineering validation truck parked at the company’s Coolidge, Arizona plant on August 10. No one was injured in either incident, the company said in a statement on Friday.

Foul play or other external factors were unlikely to have caused the incident, the company said in the statement.

Nikola’s initial statement on June 23 alluded to foul play as a possible cause of the incident, based on video footage showing a vehicle parked next to the impacted trucks and quickly pulling away after a bright flash and the commencement of the fire.

Nikola said on Friday that its internal investigations indicated a single supplier component within the battery pack as the likely source of the coolant leak and efforts are underway to provide a field remedy in the coming weeks.

The battery-powered trucks can remain in operation, Nikola said, but it recommended owners enable real-time monitoring of the vehicles by the company and consider parking trucks outside.

Nikola noted that its software systems are being used in real-time to monitor trucks in the field closely and continually assess risks. Thus far, only two battery packs have experienced a thermal event, out of more than 3,100 packs on trucks produced to date (less than 0.07%).

The company stated that additional information, updates and required customer actions will be announced in the coming weeks.

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