Nikola Corp. has issued a recall on every one of the manufacturer’s 93 Tre Class 8 battery-electric vehicles (MY 2022) because the seat belt shoulder anchorage assembly may not have been installed to specification, which could reduce protection in the event of a crash. There have been no reported issues as of yet.
According to the NHTSA recall (22V-689), the seat belt anchor assembly could become detached while in use because the assembly does not allow full thread engagement for the anchor bolt and cross-threading could occur. The seat belt assemblies were installed by Nikola’s manufacturing partner Iveco.
The issue was discovered on July 18 when a Nikola employee performing a pre-delivery inspection at a dealer noticed the passenger side seatbelt disconnected from the B-pillar adjuster. Nikola then informed Iveco, which reported back in late summer that the final torque specifications could not be achieved due to the cross-treading susceptibility. It was determined the problem could exist in all previously manufactured cabs produced from Nov. 5, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
After Nikola investigated the problem, the company decided the design could be improved by reducing the size of the spacer between the bolt and adjuster. Nikola will replace the bolt, spacer, and adjuster on all affected Tre units.
This recall comes on the heels of the commercial launch of the European Nikola Tre BEV and unveiling of a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) version at the IAA Transportation 2022 in Hannover, Germany. The Tre FCEV is expected to arrive in North America in the second half of 2023. Earlier in the month, Nikola signed an agreement with Bosch which would allow Nikola's Coolidge, Arizona plant to build Bosch fuel-cell power modules. These modules would end up on Trev FCEVs as well as the Nikola Two sleeper truck, which is designed for cross-country freight transport.
While all this is happening, Nikola's founder Trevor Milton is currently standing trial on four counts of fraud related to allegations he lied to investors about the company’s technology. He resigned as chairman two years ago after a short seller, aided by an internal whistleblower, produced a scathing report on Milton's questionable actions leading up to the company going public. That brought the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and killed a major production deal with General Motors