The issue is with electrically activated switches called contactors that “close at vehicle startup to transfer energy to and from the drive units, and open at vehicle shut down.” In a “small population” of contactors, the spring force may overcome the magnetic holding force, which could result in the switch unexpectedly opening, cutting off power to the electric motors. The connectors for 2022 and 2023 Lucid Air sedans are supplied by Sensata Technologies.
In a “small population” of contactors, the spring force may overcome the magnetic holding force, which could result in the switch unexpectedly opening
Lucid began investigating the issue in May 2022 after a vehicle that had lost power was brought to a service center. At first, the defect required technicians to manually observe the contactor openings during startup, but later, Lucid pushed out a software update that would allow the company to “permit telematic screening of vehicles” based on whether the contactor was opening or not.
“After analyzing the fleet data, Lucid determined 232 customer vehicles exhibited double-dip signatures at least 5% of the time, which provides a greater than 99.999% confidence interval for capturing affected contactors,” the company said in documents submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The company’s product safety team determined early this year that “an unreasonable risk to safety exists in vehicles with double-dip current signatures at least 5% of the time, and that Lucid would recall these vehicles and replace the contactors.”
As a fix, Lucid owners are advised to bring their vehicles into a service center, where the company will update the software and replace the contactor switches free of charge. Replacement contactors have been manufactured with stronger magnetic force to prevent future defects. Of those vehicles being recalled, 237 are known to be affected. An additional 336 vehicles require an over-the-air software update to assess their contactors.
“For Lucid, the safety of our customers and their families is the highest priority, and we are working to resolve this issue as quickly as is possible,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Lucid will contact the owners of affected vehicles to notify them of the recall and to provide further information.”
This is the third major recall Lucid has had to issue since it began delivering its Air sedans to customers in October 2021. The first, which was issued in February 2022, sought to address a potential suspension issue the automaker says is caused by “improper assembly by a supplier.” More recently, the company recalled over 1,100 sedans for a faulty wiring harness connected to the instrument panel.
In its most recent earnings report, the company said it built just 7,000 vehicles last year amid ongoing manufacturing and supply chain challenges but expects to make between 10,000 and 14,000 vehicles in 2023.
The Lucid Air is the latest EV to get hit with a recall. Ford issued recalls for its Mustang Mach-E SUVs and F-150 Lightning pickup trucks. BMW issued a recall for a “small number” of 2022 i4 sedans and iX SUVs due to the risk of battery fires. The Toyota bZ4X was recalled when it was discovered that loose hub bolts could cause the wheels to become detached while driving. Other EVs have also been recalled over various software bugs and other minor issues.