September 7, 2023

3rd Nikola battery-electric truck catches fire


A third Nikola battery-electric truck caught on fire in Arizona, but the company said the recalled trucks are still safe to drive with precautions including parking outside and away from structures and leaving the main battery disconnect switch in the “on” position until the truck is repaired.

The fire on Monday at Arizona Lithium in Tempe started in the battery pack where fires in June and August also originated. No injuries have been reported in any of the fires.

Nikola recalled 209 Tre battery electric trucks on Aug. 11 following a fire outside the company’s manufacturing plant in Coolidge, Arizona. The first fire, on June 23, spread and damaged four other trucks parked outside Nikola headquarters in Phoenix. The first truck reignited on July 23. It was quickly extinguished.

Leaking coolant suspected

An internal investigation conducted with safety consultant Exponent concluded the issue was a coolant leak inside a single battery pack. A single supplier component is the likely source of the leak, according to Nikola’s safety and engineering teams.

Nikola is working on a remedy for the condition. It is sending an interim letter to customers by Oct. 14. It will follow up with a second letter when a fix is determined and validated.

The company recovered the truck, which sustained minimal damage, for further investigation, a Nikola spokeswoman said in an email.

J.B. Hunt Transport, which ordered 10 Tre BEVs on July 31, said it is evaluating information about the recall, according to an Aug. 31 report on the Talk Business and Politics website in Arkansas.

There has been no change in the status of the J.B. Hunt purchase, the Nikola spokeswoman said.

Nikola has temporarily halted sales of new battery-electric trucks. The company noted this won’t affect production of its hydrogen fuel-cell electric truck because the fuel cell truck uses a different battery with a different design.

Nikola gets an electric truck order from J.B. Hunt

Nikola will recall 209 battery-electric trucks following 2 fires

Volvo, Mack replacing batteries on battery-electric trucks because of fire risk

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.


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