A Terrifying Safety Issue Forces Lucid Air Recall
On Tuesday, EV brand Lucid issued a recall for over 600 of its Air electric vehicles from 2022 and 2023. An issue relating to power loss is the culprit and seems to affect vehicles both at a stop and while driving. We can only imagine how scary a safety issue that may be, and it deals a big blow to an EV brand that was already struggling to get ahead.
The Lucid Air recall problem
While the recall covers just 637 Lucid Air models, the problem necessitating the recall is a particularly terrifying one. Having the electric motors shut down at highway speeds can put both that driver and surrounding drivers at risk of an accident. Anything unpredictable has the opportunity to cause an accident – just ask the drivers behind the Tesla that suddenly stopped in a tunnel over the winter.
The issue affecting the Lucid Air involves the car’s various power modes. Like most cars, the Lucid Air has different options for operating various components within the vehicle. Ignition On means all systems are go. “Accessory” turns on just the HVAC and radio functions. You get the idea.
In the Air, a tiny spring allowed the car to switch from Ignition On to Accessory mode without warning, and it could even happen while at speed. In short, a spring inside the controlling switch is stronger than the magnet used to hold the circuit closed. When this happens, the electric motors shut down and the car operates only the interior accessories.
Lucid uses over-the-air capabilities to diagnose affected models
One plus point for Lucid in this scenario is its ability to perform over-the-air updates. Connected cars are a controversial topic for some, but this NHTSA recall offers a big check in the ‘pro’ column for the EV brand.
Rather than recalling all Air models, Lucid used its connected car capabilities to pin down exactly which models could have been affected. This narrowed the pool from the original 637 potential vehicles to just 259, according to Green Car Reports.
After downloading a software update, Lucid tested all 637 Air models remotely to find just those that were at risk of sudden power failure. According to the EV automaker, the test has a “greater than 99.999% confidence interval” for figuring out which cars were problematic.
Updating the affected models means testing the spring strength of this internal contactor to ensure that the magnet is strong enough to hold it in place. For vehicles that require a new part, Lucid will replace the entire contactor, free of charge.
A rough stretch for Lucid
Though the recall ultimately affects just a handful of models, it couldn’t have come at a worse time for the fledgling EV automaker. Recently announced layoffs and a lower-than-expected delivery estimate have the brand on its heels already in 2023. This recall won’t help things much, even if the cars are excellent.
Building a brand means building a reputation, and slow deliveries coupled with safety recalls aren’t a good look for a brand-new automaker trying to compete with more established brands. Hopefully Lucid weathers this storm and continues producing its stunning luxury EVs – only time will tell.