Just when things were starting to look up for the embattled zero emission truck maker, Nikola, comes the news that it has been forced to recall all 93 battery-electric Nikola Tre heavy duty trucks it has built so far, as a result of improper installation of the shoulder anchorage assembly of the seat belts, that could reduce protection in a crash.
Nikola imports cabs the from it uses from Italy, where they are built by its manufacturing partner and main investor Iveco, which is in fact apparently responsible for the defect.
the two companies made a big deal of the launch of the Tre and the future alliance between the two companies at the IAA in Hannover last week, and now the recall comes as a kick in the guts for Nikola, which has been mired in controversy since founder Trevor Milton was charged with various offences by the SEC in the US.
The electric truck maker also began regular production at a new plant in Arizona, in March and it reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on 14 Sept. that it has no warranty or customer claims for the issue.
The assembly as designed and installed could become detached under the weight of a passenger. The seat belt anchor assembly design does not allow full thread engagement for the anchor bolt. It may cause cross threading, a condition in which a fastening screw does not engage correctly with a nut.
During a predelivery inspection at a dealership on 18 July, a Nikola employee discovered the shoulder anchorage on the passenger side seat belt was disconnected from the B-pillar adjuster.
Nikola told Iveco, which said the final torque on the passenger seat belt shoulder anchorage was not installed to specification.
Nikola will replace the components of the seat belt anchor assembly and the adjuster on all vehicles for free. The replacement component is narrower than the original, allowing the assembly to completely thread.
Customer and dealer letters about the defect will be mailed between 1 October and 1 November.
Separately, the federal fraud trial for Nikola founder Trevor Milton resumes tomorrow (Wednesday) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Dour market conditions, and possibly attention from the trial, have dragged Nikola’s stock price down a dramatic 24.02 per cent last week .