Lucid Motors Faces NHTSA Probe Over Windshield Defroster Recall

Lucid Motors is currently being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding a windshield defroster recall that took place in January. One of the concerns raised by the agency is that Lucid’s over-the-air update solution may not adequately address the problem at hand. In response, Lucid has stated that the agency is undervaluing the remedy being offered.

This investigation is particularly notable as more automakers are turning to software updates as a solution for issues that would typically require a visit to a dealership or service center. While the gravity of this probe may not match that of Tesla’s challenges with its Autopilot driver-assistance system, it does highlight the NHTSA’s careful attention to what automakers believe over-the-air updates should and should not be used for.

The recall specifically affects 2,042 Lucid Air sedans equipped with a high voltage coolant heater from supplier Webasto AG. When this coolant heater fails, it impairs the ability to defrost the windshield. Lucid’s response to the recall involved shipping an over-the-air update that could identify affected vehicles and warn drivers reactively if the system failed.

However, the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation has expressed concern about the limitations of Lucid’s approach. They worry that simply notifying drivers of a malfunctioning defroster during a drive may leave them in a precarious situation if the failure occurs when they require the feature. This means that drivers would be unable to request a free replacement part until after experiencing a failure.

As a point of comparison, the agency cites Jaguar Land Rover’s proactive strategy with its electric SUV, the I-Pace. Jaguar took the initiative to alert all 668 affected owners and replace the faulty part at no cost.

Lucid, on the other hand, defends its approach as innovative. The company claims that its over-the-air update includes a diagnostic software feature that actively monitors the heater for faults. Lucid aims to demonstrate that its analysis is reliable and that customer safety is assured. Additionally, the company is notifying all affected owners electronically and by mail to prevent them from discovering the issue after a failure, as the NHTSA suggests.

While the investigation continues, the outcome will shed light on the extent to which automakers can rely on over-the-air updates as a comprehensive solution for resolving safety issues.

FAQ:

1. What is Lucid Motors being investigated for?
Lucid Motors is being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding a windshield defroster recall that occurred in January.

2. What is the concern raised by the NHTSA?
The NHTSA is concerned that Lucid’s over-the-air update solution may not adequately address the windshield defroster problem.

3. Why is this investigation notable?
This investigation highlights the NHTSA’s attention to automakers’ use of over-the-air updates as a solution for vehicle issues, similar to Tesla’s challenges with its Autopilot system.

4. Which vehicles are affected by the recall?
The recall specifically affects 2,042 Lucid Air sedans equipped with a high voltage coolant heater from supplier Webasto AG.

5. What is Lucid’s response to the recall?
Lucid’s response to the recall involved shipping an over-the-air update that could identify affected vehicles and warn drivers reactively if the system failed.

6. What is the NHTSA’s concern about Lucid’s approach?
The NHTSA is concerned that simply notifying drivers of a malfunctioning defroster during a drive may leave them in a precarious situation if the failure occurs when they require the feature.

7. How does the NHTSA compare Lucid’s approach with Jaguar Land Rover’s strategy?
The NHTSA cites Jaguar Land Rover’s proactive strategy with its electric SUV, the I-Pace, where they alerted all affected owners and replaced the faulty part at no cost.

8. How does Lucid defend its approach?
Lucid defends its approach as innovative, claiming to have a diagnostic software feature that actively monitors the heater for faults, ensuring customer safety. They are also notifying all affected owners electronically and by mail.

Definitions:
– National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA): The NHTSA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that focuses on road safety, including vehicle safety and regulation.
– Over-the-air updates: These are software updates that can be wirelessly transmitted and installed on vehicles without requiring a physical visit to a dealership or service center.

Suggested related links:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Lucid Motors
Jaguar