When A Software Update Bricks A Lucid Air Vehicle

June 14, 2022

As you know, Lucid Motors has begun pushing out the software update over the air to many Lucid Air EVs. The update is version 1.2.6 and started to rollout last Friday. So far, I have seen many Lucid Air EV owners super happy with the update and experiencing zero issues with this update, but I did spot one Air owner where it bricked their Lucid Air.

Update: The owner of the Lucid came back to the car a few hours later, after it charged for some time, to find the car drivable again. So technically, the Lucid Air did not fully brick. More details below.

He posted the following photo in the Lucid Owners Forum of his Lucid Air showing this warning sign that reads “Software Update Failed Vehicle May Not Be Drivable.” It then says to call customer service. Here is that photo:

Scary – no?

He wrote:

I patiently waited 3 or 4 hours thinking it was still updating. It had gotten dark in the garage and I could finally see this message on the center panel.

The car was totally dead in that I could not unlock the doors with any method. The update progress said 0%. Luckily, I opened the rear trunk and crawled to the front and opened the front doors “mechanically.” The rear doors would not open and I could see this as a problem if there were an accident.

I called customer care and they were not able to do anything. They reported this to the OTA team. After about an hour the car alarm was on and I was able to silence it using the key fob. The doors would unlock, but the error message still persisted. I was able to put it in drive and reverse in the garage, so it was probably drivable.

I got a call from customer care and they told me that the OTA team had uploaded another update. The CC person told me to disable WiFi before the update, since he was told that is the safest way to do it. I started the update from the car and in a few minutes it was at 14% after about 20 minutes it was at 24% and stayed there for another 40 minutes (1 hour total). The car again displayed the the above Software Failed message. Customer care called me back to check and I told them of the situation – which was the same as the first time. They put in a problem report and I should hear from someone tomorrow regarding a mobile tech coming out.

It was really hot here today(105º or so) and about as hot in the garage. The car fans are coming on/off, so I left the garage door open and that has helped. The car accessories are on, like interior lights and USB. Hopefully this does not run down the 12V battery – maybe the fans coming on is an indication that the DC to DC converter is kicking in and keeping the accessory battery charged.

The above is a condensed version of what happened. This all transpired in the course of about 7 hours with a lot of diagnosing with the CC person over the phone – including about a gallon of sweat in the hot garage.

Again, hundreds of Lucid Air EVs have already been upgraded to version 1.2.6 since this past Friday. This seems like a rare one off – the ones you hear about with iOS iPhone or Android phone updates where something goes wrong on a customer’s device here and there and the phone is bricked.

This is why Lucid Motors does slow rollouts of these OTA updates, so if they see the update works nicely across the first batch of EVs, they can push it to more and more EVs in batches. My company often does these staged or batch rollouts of our software like this as well. So Lucid Motors is doing everything right with these rollouts, as far as we can tell.

I suspect Lucid Motors can fix this remotely at some point today/tomorrow but this is the beauty of owning a really state of the art car. I am not joking, personally, I am looking forward to owning the Lucid Air and dealign with these weird software glitches, I absolutely love beta software and new products.

Update at 1:40pm ET: The customer posted an update in the forums saying:

A quick update to this problem: it seems the car will come alive after about an hour after this problem occurs. I did plug the car in overnight and this morning it was fully charged and the only software failure message was on the app. The car should be drivable since I can put it in drive or reverse and move back & forth in the garage. Everything looks normal on the car. The service center was getting with OTA team and local techs to determine what to do next. They recommended not trying another update if it gets pushed out until they have a better handle on it.

This is displayed on the app (a similar message was displayed in the car, but it is no longer there):