U.S. auto safety regulators have taken a significant step in ensuring the safety of Ford Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles by launching an investigation into the 2022 recall issued by Ford Motor. This move comes as a response to concerns about the adequacy of the initial recall and the potential need for an expansion to encompass more vehicles.
The reason behind Ford’s recall in June 2022 was the discovery of a critical issue related to the high voltage battery main contactors in these vehicles. These contactors were found to be susceptible to overheating, particularly during DC fast-charging sessions and repeated instances of rapid acceleration, often referred to as “wide-open pedal events.” This overheating problem posed a substantial risk, as it could lead to an immediate loss of propulsion power, substantially increasing the chances of a potentially dangerous crash.
In response to these safety concerns, Ford initially issued a recall that affected nearly 49,000 Ford Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles for the 2021 and 2022 model years. As part of this recall, a technical service bulletin was issued to replace the High Voltage Battery Junction Box on the affected vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) decided to open a recall query covering a broader scope, encompassing 64,000 Mach-E vehicles, in light of 12 consumer complaints received concerning vehicles that had undergone recall fixes. These complaints raised doubts about the effectiveness of the recall measures taken by Ford.
In response to the NHTSA’s investigation, Ford has stated its commitment to cooperating fully with the regulatory body to support their efforts. The core of Ford’s recall solution involved software updates aimed at monitoring contactor temperature. These updates were designed to reduce battery power to prevent damage to the contactor. Additionally, the software was designed to monitor contactor resistance, thereby identifying an overheated contactor and reducing vehicle power to prevent further damage.
However, the complaints from some vehicle owners have raised concerns. One owner reported that just two days after receiving the software update, their vehicle experienced a second catastrophic failure of its High Voltage Battery Junction Box. This incident occurred during a trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles, where the vehicle displayed a “Service Vehicle Soon” warning and was limited to a mere 30% of its available power until it reached a dealership.
Another Mach-E driver in Florida reported a harrowing experience after charging at a DC fast charge station. Following the charging session, the vehicle displayed a “safely stop now” warning on the screen panel, ultimately coming to a complete stop within seconds on a highway on-ramp. After several hours, the driver was able to restart the vehicle, only to have it stop again after traveling a mere three miles.
The NHTSA’s investigation into the Ford Mustang Mach-E recall underscores the critical importance of vehicle safety and the need for thorough and effective recall measures to address potential hazards. As the investigation unfolds, it will be crucial to determine whether further action is required to ensure the safety of these electric vehicles on the road.