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Nikola trucks can’t stop catching fire as 4th fire occurs

Another Nikola truck has caught on fire in Phoenix today. It is the fourth fire incident involving Nikola trucks in just a few months – yet the company insists they are safe to drive.

In June, the Phoenix fire department confirmed that five Nikola semi-trucks caught fire at its headquarters.

The situation was quite strange as the company was quick to tell the public it believed “foul play” was involved in the fire, but it didn’t have a lot of evidence to back the claim. It only mentioned that a vehicle was spotted on the scene before the fire.

We were suspicious of the situation as we learned from inside sources that Nikola had a major battery defect in the modules produced by Romeo, a battery supplier it acquired last year.

Last month, Nikola ended up recalling all 209 BEV trucks that it had produced over a battery defect.

At the time, the company refused to completely disavow its claim of “foul play” but stated that a coolant leak was “the probable cause of the truck fire” without being completely sure.

At the same time, the company disclosed a second battery fire incident. Earlier this week, another Nikola truck fire was reported by Arizona Lithium at its facility in Tempe.

Today, a fourth fire incident occurred, once again taking place at Nikola’s HQ in Phoenix.

Neighbors of the facility contacted Electrek to tell us that a Nikola truck was visibly on fire at the facility.

We contacted Nikola about the incident, and the company released this statement that downplayed the incident as involving an “engineering validation battery-electric truck.”

On Friday September 8 at approximately 8:30 am, there was a thermal incident with one engineering validation battery-electric truck near Nikola’s Phoenix headquarters. No one was injured. This pre-production truck was outside and undergoing battery fire investigation and testing. We thank the Phoenix first responders for their quick action. We will share more information as we learn more.

If our count is accurate, that’s now four separate fire incidents involving Nikola trucks in as many months and eight trucks in total being involved.

That’s quite a problem when there are only about 200 vehicles on the road.

Nikola’s stock was down by as much as 15% today following the news. It now trades under $1.00 a share.

Electrek’s Take

If you have been following me on X, you might know that I predicted that this is likely the end of Nikola.

The only way I saw them surviving this is if they would handle the recall perfectly, and it looks like that is far from the case.

The recall notice asks owners to leave the car outside to “get better connectivity for over-the-air updates” and not because the vehicles are at risk of catching on fire:

This is ridiculous. The recall documents on NHTSA’s website haven’t been updated since the last two incidents.

I hope the agency is all over this because it looks to me like Nikola is more concerned with its plunging stock price than with the safety concerns that come with its trucks catching on fire.

Finally, I hope it’s clear to the market that this is not an indication that zero-emission trucks don’t work. It’s just an example of a poorly managed company.

Author: Fred Lambert
Source: Electrek

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