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Safety recalls hit Volvo, Nikola electric trucks

Limited production figures offer no immunity from safety issues

Electric trucks may be new on the scene but they are not immune to safety recalls. (Photos: Volvo Trucks North America and Nikola Corp.)

The numbers are small because there are not many Class 8 electric trucks on the road yet. But new technology is proving just as susceptible to safety recalls as legacy products.

Volvo Trucks North America and Nikola Corp. are recalling several hundred trucks each. 

Volvo discovered that adaptive cruise control was improperly integrated into its VNR Electric trucks. Nikola was swept up in a Bendix equipment recall involving a parking brake issue.

No injuries or crashes are linked to either issue. All 240 Volvo trucks recalled, including four in Canada, could exhibit the condition. The trucks were manufactured between April 16, 2019, and Oct. 19, 2022.

Integration missed on adaptive cruise control components

Volvo found that during adaptive cruise control braking under light-load conditions, regenerative braking could potentially lock the brakes without warning and cause the rear axle to skid.

The Sweden-based truck maker discovered in March that adaptive cruise control components, specifically front radar, had been installed on the battery electric platform without being integrated into the battery-electric driveline. After investigating, Volvo filed a safety recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on April 7.

Dealers were notified about the recall on Tuesday. Customers will get letters on June 2. Volvo is still working on a fix for the issue. The NHTSA recall number is 23V-255.

In January, Volvo Trucks and its sibling Mack Trucks recalled 137 Volvo VNR Electric trucks and 43 Mack LR Electric refuse haulers because a cabin heater relay could fail, causing the coolant heater to overheat and catch fire.

Nikola has 3rd safety recall for battery-electric Tre models

Separately, Nikola involvement in an equipment recall by Tier 1 supplier Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems is the third recall of the Tre battery-electric truck.

In September, Nikola recalled 93 trucks — all it had built to that date — because improper installation of the shoulder anchorage assembly of the seat belts could reduce protection in a crash. 

In February, the company recalled 137 model year 2022 Tres because the shaft locking screw on the brake pedal was reported missing or may not be fully threaded, which could cause the brake pedal to detach.

Bendix safety recall hits 4 truck makers

Bendix in February recalled 836 Intellipark park brake valve modules (PVMs). They may intermittently become stuck in the unparked position and may not transition from unparked to parked when the park switch is pulled on the vehicle dashboard.  

A sticking Intellipark won’t allow the vehicle spring brakes to exhaust when the driver pulls the park switch. The vehicle must be parked by depleting air storage by fanning-down the air brake system with the service brake pedal. If a driver detects the PVM malfunction and does not properly fan down the brakes, the vehicle may move without warning, which could increase the risk of a crash.

Park indication LEDs on the vehicle dash park switch that remain off after the park switch is pulled indicate that the spring brake system has not exhausted. In addition, audible exhaust sounds typically heard when an air-braked vehicle is parked are absent.

Intellipark modules built after Feb. 6 do not have the issue, which is expected to affect about 2% of recalled vehicles.Bendix is providing replacement PVM modules that Nikola dealers will install at no cost to the customer. Customer letters will be mailed in May. The NHTSA recall number is 23V-249.

Tesla earlier this month recalled 35 of its Semi electric trucks for the same issue. Navistar Inc. and Paccar Inc. also received some of the faulty PVMs, according to Bendix’s NHTSA filing. Each of the companies affected was responsible to file its own recall with NHTSA.

Nikola recalls all the electric trucks it has built so far

NHTSA fines Volvo Group $130M for slow reporting of recalls

Over 100,000 heavy trucks from 29 manufacturers recalled after steering failure reports

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.


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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.