American EV automaker Rivian has begun informing certain 2022 R1T and R1S customers of a recall filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last week. The voluntary recall affects over 12,700 Rivian EVs and pertains to a sensor in passenger seatbelt system that may cause a reduced, or complete lack of deployment in the passenger airbag.
Rivian remains a relatively young EV automaker still looking to find its stride in scaled EV production. Although it slightly missed on revenue goals in 2022, the American automaker produced nearly 25,000 EVs, delivering over 20,000 to a customer base still very hungry for its R1T pickup and R1S SUV.
To a large extent, the Rivian models that have seen delivery have done quite well. In fact, the R1T was recently awarded the highest scoring premium model in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power, dethroning the Tesla Model 3.
On the other hand, early adoption is rarely without its fair share of kinks to work out. To date, Rivian has filed three recalls with the NHTSA, the most recent coming in October of 2022 pertaining to the EV’s steering knuckle separating from the control arm. Before that, Rivian recalled a couple hundred EVs due to an improperly secured seatbelt anchor.
Today, the automaker is informing its customers of a fourth recall – again involving a seatbelt, but with a greater risk of passenger injury, albeit will likely only affect a very small number of Rivian vehicles.
Rivian recalls 12,761 EVs but expects less than 100 affected
According to the filing with the NHTSA on February 22, 2023, the recall affects certain 2022 Rivian R1T and R1S EVs and pertains to a faulty automatic locking retractor (ALR) sensor in the front passenger seat belt system that may incorrectly report as “on” when it is actually “off.” The result is “suppression or improper deployment of the air bag.”
In the filing, Rivian says letters announcing the recall will go out to potentially affected EV owners on April 8, but it appears those notices are already going out via email. Forum member Tonicart shared their email on RivianForums.com:
We have initiated a voluntary recall that affects your vehicle. Certain model year 2022 R1S and R1T vehicles fail to conform with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 “Occupant Crash Protection.”This notice applies to your vehicle, VIN: x7xxx
What is the problem?
A sensor in the front passenger seat belt system may incorrectly report its status as “on” when, in fact, it is off. If a passenger is seated in the front passenger seat and this happens, the passenger air bag may not deploy as intended. In the event of a crash which is supposed to deploy the front passenger air bag, the occupant may have an increased risk of injury due to a reduced deployment or lack of deployment.
How many vehicles are affected?
The recall affects 12,716 vehicles, however we believe less than 1% of those vehicles – fewer than 100 vehicles – will require part replacement. While the number of vehicles impacted is very limited, we will always exercise caution when it comes to safety. As of February 27, 2023, we are not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this issue.
What will Rivian do?
Rivian will offer no appointment necessary visits to Rivian Service Centers and pop-up locations up to 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday, to inspect and replace, if necessary, passenger seat belt system components in the affected vehicles. If your vehicle is not brought in for inspection, we will inspect it for this issue at a future service appointment.
How long will the inspection and repair take?
Inspections are estimated to take less than 10 minutes. For the very small percentage where part replacement is necessary, the work can be completed in less than 30 minutes during the same visit. This service will be available at no cost to you.
What should you do?
Information about Rivian Service Centers and pop-up service locations offering expanded hours of operation and service without an appointment are listed on our website. Before your visit, please install the latest software update to your vehicle.If you have further questions, or if you prefer to schedule an appointment, please call Rivian Service at 1-855-748-4265. We are available 24/7/365.
Additional information will also be posted at NHTSA.gov/recalls.Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to resolving it as quickly and efficiently as possible.
VP Service Operations
As you can see in the letter above, Rivian expects less than 100 of the 12,761 EVs in the recall to actually require a replacement part, but the abundance of caution is absolutely understandable given it affects a crucial safety component in the passenger airbag.
These letters should continue to go out to current Rivian owners at risk in the recall, and those individuals will be able to visit any Rivian Service Center free of charge.
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