637 Lucid Airs are being recalled due to a spring that could lead to vehicles shutting down unexpectedly.
A contactor could open unexpectedly, cutting the supply of electricity to the motors, and that's a problem
A seemingly small problem with a spring that’s a little too strong has led to some Lucid Airs shutting down unexpectedly on the road, and to a recall of 637 vehicles. Fortunately, the problem is not terminal, but could lead to a safety issue if it occurs at the wrong time.
The fault is related to a contactor supplied by Sensata Technologies. The part is an electrically-activated switch that makes contact at vehicle startup, and breaks it when the vehicle is shut down, controlling the flow of electricity to the motor.
However, in some cases, the spring that keeps the switch from making contact in when the motor is supposed to be off is too strong. That means that it can force it to break contact while the vehicle is driving, shutting off the supply of electricity to the motor.
In documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Lucid says that even if the motor shuts off, the driver should be able to continue coasting off the road. In addition, all of the other electric componentry in the car is not affected by this issue, and the car may even restart, and operate as usual if the driver attempts to start it again.
However, losing motive power at speed can be dangerous, and increases the risk of a crash happening on the road. If the contactor opens unexpectedly, the driver will get a message about a system error on the dash, but they will not receive any prior warning that the issue is coming.
Lucid initially believed that just 259 vehicles had to be recalled, but recently updated that number to 637 2022-2023 Air sedans. Those owners will be broken down into two groups. The first is made up of 273 vehicles that are known to be affected by this potential issue. They will be asked to return their vehicle to a service center, where their contactors will be replaced at no cost, as part of a recall campaign.
The second group is made up of 336 vehicles whose software must be updated to see if there is an issue. They will be contacted by first-class mail and can be walked through the update by a Lucid Customer Care representative. If the vehicle requires replacement contactors, a maintenance appointment will be scheduled.