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Ford Recalling Focus Electric Again - This Time for Stalling Issues

Ford Motor Company has issued a recall of the Ford Focus Electric over a concern that the electric drivetrain could suddenly stop providing motive power – potentially leaving a driver stranded on the side of the road or left in a dangerous situation like fast moving traffic and no way to move the vehicle.

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Ford Motor Company issued this voluntary recall after reportedly receiving 16 complaints that Ford Focus Electric owners had lost power to the wheels suddenly and without warning. After receiving those complaints – combined with news of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looking into this problem – Ford opted to recall around 2,500 electric Focus hatchbacks from the 2012, 2013 and 2014 model year.

Now, I imagine that more than a few readers are scoffing at my suggestion of the Ford Focus Electric “stalling” since stalling is typically a term used to describe a situation where a combustion engine stops running but when you consider the real problem with the Focus Electric where the engine is not providing power to the front wheels – this problem would be the electric vehicle version of stalling.

It is unclear what exactly is causing this problem of the Ford Focus Electric losing power to the wheels but Ford Motor Company is blaming a software issue. Should that be the case, the fix should be as simple as reprogramming the Power Control Module (PCM) so it shouldn’t be very time consuming for the owner while also not being very hard on Ford from a financial standpoint.

It should be noted that in these 16 reports of the Ford Focus Electric losing power, there were no accidents or injuries but the possibility of suddenly losing power could create a dangerous situation if the driver is in quick moving traffic…or if the vehicle dies in an unsavory location or in foul weather. In fact, one of the 12 complaints states that she was left stranded in a dangerous location so in addition to possibly being run into from behind by another motorist when you lose power, you could also find yourself stuck in an unpleasant area. While I don’t imagine that many Focus Electric owners spend much time cruising through the hood – it would make sense that some middle class Focus EV owners may have to drive through questionable urban areas so breaking down would put them in an uncomfortable and dangerous situation.

Ford is quick to point out that when the electric drive system fails to power the wheels, the driver will still have full power steering and power brakes so he or she will be able to steer and/or stop the vehicle…they just won’t be able to continue their pace.
Before this latest recall, the Ford Focus Electric has been called back to dealerships twice before – once for a wiring issue with the headlights and once for a door chime concern. Ultimately, this is the most “serious” problem for which the car has been recalled but the good news is that there have been no accidents so this is more about the safety and convenience of owners going forward.

Source: New York Times

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