(Adds details on braking issue and background throughout)

April 15 - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said on Monday it has opened a preliminary evaluation to investigate claims related to loss of brake assist for 3,322 GM Cadillac Lyriq electric vehicles.

The NHTSA said it received reports of a hard brake pedal, followed by a "Brake System Failure" message at start up or while driving. The evaluation covers 2023 model year vehicles.

GM said the electronic brake control module has an internal spindle that can fracture during an anti-lock braking system (ABS) event, according to a NHTSA preliminary evaluation report.

ABS prevents the wheels from locking brakes and slipping when applied, further reducing the risk of an accident.

Due to the spindle fracture, the vehicles can lose brake assist, experience speed limitation, and ABS would lose some functionality, GM said in the NHTSA report.

GM has readied an over-the-air update, which will alert drivers if the spindle fractures, the NHTSA said. (Reporting by Chandni Shah and Nathan Gomes in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonia Cheema and Shounak Dasgupta)