Nissan North America is recalling 9,813 model year 2023 Ariya EVs for a potential drive motor-related software defect, as per reports filed by the Japanese carmaker with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“The inverter software may detect a short circuit and shut down the EV system, resulting in a loss of drive power,” as per the summary report. The affected models include both the front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive versions of the Ariya – no other Nissan or Infiniti cars are affected, as the Ariya uses a unique motor type.
Nissan expects 100 percent of the recalled vehicles to contain the defect. The report states that tiny bits of conductive material from a drive motor part might briefly cause a short circuit in the slip rings – rotary electrical devices that transmit power or electrical signals, crucial in the effective spinning of the motor.
This can cut off the power temporarily to avoid damage to the internal components, triggering an "EV System Off" dashboard message. Torque to driven wheels can also be cut off until the “fail-safe mode” is released with a restart. But if this happens while driving fast, it could lead to a crash.
Dealers will reprogram the inverter software to fix this issue free of charge, and owners will be notified by October 20, 2023. Nissan first detected the issue in January 2022, followed by a complaint by an Ariya owner in China. Multiple reports appear to have been filed in California and Oklahoma as well in September 2023.
This isn’t the first issue Ariya has faced. Early this year, the brand recalled over 1,000 models in North America over the risk of the steering wheel detaching from the steering column due to a potentially loose or missing bolt. Repeated recalls might affect Ariya’s rollout in the US, which began this year.
In the first half of 2023, Nissan sold 9,400 electric cars in the US, a fraction of its competitors’ figures. The Ariya enjoyed the bigger share of that pie with 5,195 units sold, while sales of the Leaf dropped by 44 percent year-over-year with 4,234 deliveries. Both models are ineligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.