Nikola places BEV sales on hold after investigation into truck fires

nikola semi truck being put out after fire
The Phoenix Fire Department said the blaze at Nikola's headquarters took at least 12 hours to contain, and that it took hoses spraying the burning batteries with hundreds of gallons of water every minute.
Phoenix Fire Department

Nikola Corporation announced Friday it has put the sale of its Tre battery electric vehicles on hold as a result of investigations into an electric truck fire at the company's headquarters in June. 

Once thought to be an act of foul play, investigators have determined the fire was due to a coolant leak inside a battery pack at the company's headquarters in Phoenix on June 23. 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, Ariz. plant on Aug. 10. No one was injured in either incident.  

As a precautionary measure, Nikola has announced a voluntary recall of approximately 209 Class 8 Tre battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). 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.

The company says these actions "do not affect the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) currently in production as the truck’s battery pack has a different design."

“At Nikola we take safety very seriously,” says 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.” 

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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. 

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 says its software systems are being used in real-time to monitor trucks in the field closely and continually assess risks. Thus far, only two (2) 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, the company says.

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