Ford recalls nearly 50,000 Mustang Mach-Es, halts deliveries over safety defect
Ford Motor Co. is recalling nearly 50,000 Mustang Mach-Es and telling dealers to pause deliveries of the all-electric crossover due to a safety defect that could result in Pub Info power loss.
The Dearborn automaker has filed a recall notice with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding an issue on some Mach-Es that can cause the vehicle's high-voltage battery main contactors to overheat, according to the company.
"Overheating may lead to arcing and deformation of the electrical contact surfaces, which can result in a contactor that remains open or a contactor that welds closed," according to Ford. "An overheated contactor that opens while driving can result in a loss of motive power, which can increase the risk of an accident."
The issue affects certain model year 2021-2022 Mach-Es built at Ford's Cuautitlan Stamping and Assembly Plant in Mexico between May 27, 2020 and May 24, 2022, according to a memo sent to dealers this week. Further information about the recall was not immediately available on NHTSA's website Tuesday afternoon.
The fix for the issue is a software update that Ford expects to begin deploying remotely for affected vehicles next month, according to spokesperson Said Deep. Owners also will have the option to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to complete the update.
Dealers have been asked to pause deliveries of the Mach-E until the software update is completed. Ford said it's not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue. First reported by CNBC, the recall includes 48,924 vehicles in the U.S. Ford said there are no open NHTSA investigations into the issue.
Experts said that while a recall is never a good scenario for an automaker, it's encouraging that this issue can be resolved via a software update and that Ford has not indicated there is a fire risk or told Mach-E drivers to stop driving their vehicle.
"The key is always [whether there are] injuries or worse. The second key is scary potentials — like, 'Don't park your Bolt near your house,'" said Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars.com, referring to General Motors Co.'s recall last August of all Chevrolet Bolt EVs and EUVs ever made for battery fire risk. That recall of some 141,000 units led to a months-long stop-sale on the Bolt; GM restarted production in April.
“We’re still early in the learning curve on electric cars," added Brauer. "And when you see these very electric car-specific issues ... it just reminds us that there’s still a lot of understanding and experience and wisdom that needs to be gathered in electric car production.”
Still, "It's certainly significant if you're driving down the road and your car suddenly loses power and shuts down. It's a non-trivial issue," said Sam Abuelsamid, an e-mobility analyst at Guidehouse Insights.
The contactors at issue in the recall, he said, are installed between the battery and other parts in the vehicle to isolate the battery when the system is not operating.
"You don't want power from the [high-voltage] battery flowing through other systems in the vehicle when it's shut off, because that could potentially cause safety issues," said Abuelsamid. "So it’s definitely a non-trivial issue when you lose power, but at the same time, it doesn’t sound like it has happened very many times. So far, at least, they’re not telling people to park their Mach-Es and not drive them. They’re just saying, 'Hold off on delivering any until we get this fix out there.'"
The recall on the Mach-E — Ford's inaugural battery-electric vehicle — comes on the heels of NHTSA launching an investigation into another one of the automaker's hot new products: the Bronco SUV. The federal safety regulator is looking into complaints from dozens of owners regarding engine failures, though a recall has not been issued.
Ford has struggled with vehicle launches in the past, including the botched launch of the redesigned 2020 Explorer SUV. CEO Jim Farley has said that improving quality and reducing costs related to recalls and warranties are a top priority under his turnaround plan for the company.
Mach-E has generally garnered favorable reviews from owners and critics alike since it launched in late 2020. Ford in December announced that it was moving to boost Mach-E production capacity to 200,000 units annually by next year to meet demand.
The crossover SUV has had five prior recalls, according to NHTSA records.