The U.S. auto safety watchdog is delving deeper into the recent recall of Ford’s electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E. The key concern? Whether Ford’s recall sufficiently tackled the issues at hand.
In June 2022, Ford pulled back nearly 49,000 of its Mustang Mach-E electric cars. The core issue? Issues with the high voltage battery main contactors. These vital components were overheating, especially during rapid charging sessions and intense driving situations. The consequence? A sudden drop in power, dangerously increasing crash risks.
In response to the recall for its 2021 and 2022 models, Ford announced a solution. The plan was to replace the High Voltage Battery Junction Box in the affected vehicles. Moreover, they rolled out software updates aimed at keeping a closer watch on the contactor temperature.
Their intent? To curb battery power if things got too hot, preventing further contactor damage. They also introduced monitoring mechanisms to spot an overheated contactor early and reduce vehicle power accordingly.
However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is raising eyebrows. After the recall, they received 12 complaints from Mach-E owners who had their vehicles “fixed”. This has led the NHTSA to expand its investigation into a broader range of 64,000 Mach-E vehicles.
Ford, on its part, stated on Monday, they’re “working with NHTSA to support their investigation.”
But the drivers’ experiences post-recall fix raise concerns. One owner narrated a harrowing experience: just two days post the software update, while on a family trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles, the car signaled a “Service Vehicle Soon” warning. It then limited itself to only 30% power until they could get to a dealership.
Another driver from Florida shared a similar alarming incident. After a fast-charge session, the car screen flashed “safely stop now”. Moments later, the car halted right in the middle of a busy highway on-ramp. After a prolonged wait, the car restarted but only managed to travel three miles before stopping again.
The unfolding events put a spotlight on the importance of thorough recall fixes. With electric vehicles on the rise, it’s crucial that recalls not only identify issues but also address them comprehensively to ensure driver safety.
Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company.