Recall and sales stop for all Nikola BEV trucks
Nikola Motor is recalling all 209 battery-electric trucks delivered so far and has stopped the sale of its Nikola Tre BEV until further notice. The recall was prompted by fires involving electric trucks at the company’s headquarters in June and August.
According to Nikola, a third-party investigation showed that a leak in the coolant circuit of the battery pack was the probable cause. Internal investigations by Nikola indicate that a single supplier component within the battery pack was responsible for the leak.
When a battery truck caught fire at the company’s headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, in June, Nikola suspected arson – video footage had shown another vehicle parked next to the affected truck that quickly drove away after a flash. However, according to the latest probe by third-party investigators, a “minor thermal incident” was triggered at another parked truck – which is why Nikola now also states that “other external factors” are unlikely to have caused the incident.
Nikola says “efforts [are] underway to remedy issues” and that repairs should start in the coming weeks. Accordingly, vehicles already delivered to customers can stay in operation, but Nikola recommends that dealers and customers take measures. For example, the main battery disconnect switch should always remain in the “ON” position “to enable real-time vehicle monitoring and safety systems operation.” In addition, the vehicles should be parked outside – but not because of the risk of fire, but to improve the reception of OTA updates.
The company’s fuel cell trucks are not affected by the recall because they have different batteries, says Nikola.
Nikola started as a US startup with the aim of putting a hydrogen truck on the road, but later added battery-electric trucks to its range for the transition. In May 2023, then Nikola CEO Michael Lohscheller put the strategic focus back on H2 models. Since the summer, new BEV trucks have only been made to order, as the market interest in FCEV trucks was much greater. However, Lohscheller stepped down as CEO at the beginning of August for personal reasons. Steve Girsky is now the fourth Nikola CEO in four years.
“At Nikola, we take safety very seriously,” Girsky says. “We stated from the beginning that as soon as our investigations were concluded we would provide an update, and we will continue our transparency as we learn more.”