The testers noted the sudden "loud bang" emitted by a Lucid Air Grand Touring luxury car during testing. They also experienced a loss of power while driving the luxury EV. The testers were driving an electric vehicle that won the auto magazine's 2022 Car of the Year award, which costs around $125,600 brand new.
Writer Erick Ayapana detailed his account of the EV failure that happened several months ago in an article published on Oct. 17. According to Ayapana, what "was supposed to be a fun and routine test" of the EV turned into "an hours-long ordeal."
The testers began instrumented testing with 60-0 miles per hour (mph) braking. The Lucid executed six of these tests, along with one additional test going from 100 to 0 mph, with no issues.
After braking, Ayapana said they moved on to acceleration testing. The Lucid Air has a launch control system that is easy to activate, and using launch control typically results in the best numbers.
First, one of the test drivers selected sprint mode, the "sportiest drive setting," firmly pressed the brake pedal with his left foot and fully depressed the accelerator with his right foot. After several seconds, a "launch mode activated" message showed up on the instrument panel.
Next, the driver released the brake pedal and held on as the Lucid rocketed from a standstill with impressive force. Somewhere between 40 and 60 mph, they suddenly heard a "startlingly loud bang," followed by a sudden loss of power.
Eventually, the Lucid coasted to a stop, with the brakes and steering still operable. Next, the instrument cluster lit up with warning lights and error messages including "Drive System Fault, Contact Customer Care." (Related: Massive explosion at EV battery warehouse in Uzbekistan kills 15-year-old boy, injures 163.)
The testers then decided to get the car off the test track because they were at the tail end of their allotted time and risked delaying the facility's testing for the day. After 20 to 30 minutes of being stranded on the track, the staff at the facility decided to tow the car to a nearby lot.
After the Lucid was unloaded from the tow truck, it seemingly fixed itself and was able to drive like normal, but with one warning light still on. The writers explained the situation to a Lucid representative, who decided to have the vehicle towed to a service center in Los Angeles.
It was under repair for several days, said Ayapana. Several months after the incident, Lucid is still unable to provide a diagnosis of the issue.
Associate editor Justin Banner, who also witnessed the incident, suggested that it was a similar issue that affected the Ford Mach-E and led to a recall of close to 50,000 vehicles.
Banner's reporting of the Ford recall revealed that the issue could be traced to "the Mach E's contactors – essentially an electrically controlled switch for the high-voltage battery to connect to its motor system – that are either overheated and deformed to prevent them from making contact (and staying open, killing the power) or welding itself closed."
Ford claimed that the issue was due to the repeated use of DC fast charging and driving at wide-open throttle. Soon after, Ford released a software update to resolve the recall.
Ayapana said they can only hope that Lucid is working on a similar solution to prevent the issues they encountered.
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