PHOENIX — Electric truck manufacturer Nikola has issued a voluntary recall of approximately 209 Class 8 Tre battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).
The recall comes about two months after a single battery pack inside a Tre tractor sprung a coolant leak, causing a blaze at the company’s Phoenix headquarters, according to a Nikola news release.
Nikola is currently in the process of filing this voluntary recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and is placing a temporary hold on new BEV sales until a resolution is in place.
These actions do not affect the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle currently in production as the truck’s battery pack has a different design, the news release noted.
“Following an Aug.10 presentation of preliminary findings from Exponent, a reputable third-party investigator, a coolant leak inside a single battery pack was found to be the probable cause of the truck fire on June 23, 2023,” the news release stated. “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 Aug. 10. No one was injured in either incident.”
Internal investigations from Nikola’s safety and engineering teams indicate 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, Nikola officials said.
Tre BEV trucks may remain in operation, but for optimal performance and safety, the Nikola team encourages all customers and dealers to immediately take the following actions:
- Place the Main Battery Disconnect (MBD) switch into the “ON” position at all times to enable real-time vehicle monitoring and safety systems operation.
- Consider parking trucks outside to allow for over-the-air updates and better connectivity with Fleet Command, Nikola’s truck monitoring system.
“The company’s software systems are being used in real-time to monitor trucks in the field closely and continually assess risks,” according to the news release. “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%).”
Additional information, updates and required customer actions will be announced in the coming weeks.
“At Nikola we take safety very seriously,” said Steve Girsky, Nikola’s CEO. “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.”
The company’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.
Extensive internal and third party-led hypothesis testing, employee and contractor interviews, and hours of video footage review has since suggested foul play or other external factors were unlikely to have caused the incident.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.