Focus Electric Recalled As Ford Finally Reacts To The “Stop Safely Now” Power Loss Problem

4 years ago by Jay Cole 22

All Ford Electrics Built Between September 15th, 2011 and August 8th, 2013 Are Being Recalled

All Ford Electrics Built In Michigan Between September 15th, 2011 and August 8th 2013 Are Being Recalled

About 2,600 Focus Electrics built between Sept. 15th, 2011 to Aug. 8th, 2013 at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne have finally been recalled due to the “Stop Safely Now” problem.   Officially, 2,020 Focus Electrics have been reported by Ford as sold in the United States.

This Is Not The Message You Want To See Pop Up In Your New Ford Focus Electric While Driving Down The Highway

This Is Not The Message You Want To See Pop Up In Your New Ford Focus Electric While Driving Down The Highway

The “Stop Safely Now” issue (which is what the Focus Electric’s dash readout says then there is a problem) is a dangerous situation that in some cases causes a loss of power to the wheels – even when the car is in operation.  Fortunately when the problem pops up, steering and brakes remained unaffected.

InsideEVs’ own Marc Lee was one of the first to experience (and report on) this issue 427 days ago.  We have since received more than 10 complaints about the problem from owners – one of whom has experienced the failure 4 times, and we have been in contact with Ford directly about the power failure on multiple occasions.

Recent NHSTA Investigation Into Loss Of Power Issues With The Focus Electric (click to enlarge)

Recent NHSTA Investigation Into Loss Of Power Issues With The Focus Electric (click to enlarge)

It appears that an official investigation opened 7 weeks ago by the NHSTA may be what ultimately accelerated the recall after a dozen Focus Electric owners reported the problem to the agency…11 such instances of failure happened while the car was in motion.

Dealers apparently were notified of a Safety Recall Notice  yesterday – 13S09 “POWERTRAIN CONTROL MODULE REPROGRAM”

TSB 13-9-19 – MODULE REPROGRAMMING FOR VARIOUS DTCS

FORD: 2012-2014 Focus

ISSUE: Some 2012-2014 Focus Electric vehicles may exhibit one or more of the following concerns, red triangle warning lamp and Stop Safely Now displayed in message center, illuminated wrench lamp with multiple diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), illuminated ABS warning lamp with DTC C0044,12-volt battery experiencing a low state of charge when not connected to 120/240 volt Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE) for 2 or more days.

According to Marc the eventual reason determined for his problem more than 400 days ago:

“The exact nature of the problem with the FFE was a Battery Energy Control Module failing to communicate,  which prevented the bottom HV battery from engaging.”

An official recall campaign is expected shortly, and we take comfort that the problem has finally been resolved.

– some details via Detroit News

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22 responses to "Focus Electric Recalled As Ford Finally Reacts To The “Stop Safely Now” Power Loss Problem"

  1. Spec9 says:

    Cool! Glad to hear they found the problem and have hopefully fixed it.

    1. ChuckD says:

      This problem has not been resolved. I have a 2014 Focus Electric that is 3 weeks old and on my way to work on I-5 in Orange County, CA the message “Stop Safely Now” came on just as traffic stopped, so natually, the car quit. Very exciting to be in the fast lane unable to move. The car has been towed to the nearest Ford dealer and they have no clue how to fix it. Waiting to hear from Ford engineering with no news yet.

  2. scottf200 says:

    I’m a Ford fan but what an awful way to treat your customers. Clearly they could have used/done some better diagnostics.

    1. Martin T says:

      I’m cured of being a Ford Fan for life, sadly it’s what one expects from “corporate” Ford.
      After all the PR year after year after decade – will they ever change their culture (Not !)

      At least their hand was forced here, so some of the owners will get relief finally,

  3. Cool. That was one of the very few concerns I had about my Focus Electric. Otherwise it’s a great little car.

  4. Aaron says:

    About. F—–g. Time.

    This was a dangerous situation they let go on for FAR too long. If this was just a communication issue, they have a serious deficiency in the car computer department. This should have been quickly caught and logged, yet all the reports I read, the computer showed “no faults”.

  5. Bloggin says:

    It’s good to see this issue has been resolved. It seems the challenge was catching the event when it occurred to trace the error codes. Owners report being told of a new software update that was being tested early Sept, that should be released ‘very soon’. It looks like it was a success.

    Now the question is whether Ford held up production of the FFE while working on this fix. Daily inventory is at an all time low at around 250 units, when it was 500+ for most of the year and 2012.

    There is an indication that Ford may have a plan to market the 2014 Focus Electric a bit more. Currently there is an available lease for $263/mo for 36 months, with just $908 down. What’s odd about this lease deal is that it just started in the middle of the month…10/17/13 and goes until 1/2/2014. It seems the lease deal was held until SSN fix was confirmed.

    The Michigan Assembly Plant where the Focus Electric and C-Max Energi are produced on the same production line is scheduled for 2 separate shut downs of 1 week each. This week, and 12/16). Reports are that it is to reduce inventory. But Ford has already reported that the 2014 C-Max Hybrid and Energi (with scheduled launch date of 12/2/13) will obtain aerodynamic updates, along with engine/transmission tuning adjustments. These adjustments would require tooling changes which would stop the line.

    ICE Focus is stocked at 40k units, C-Max Hybrid is at a lower than normal 5k, and C-Max Energi is below normal at only 1900 units. By comparison Civic is at 48k. Which looks like Ford boosted production of the ICE Focus in Sept, to allow for more production of C-Max and FFE models for Nov and Dec.

    1. Kyle says:

      Do you have a link for the 2014 C-Max Energi mechanical changes? The only information I can find about 2014 C-Max changes appear to only apply to the Hybrid and make no specific reference to the Energi model.

  6. Jesse Gurr says:

    “The exact nature of the problem with the FFE was a Battery Energy Control Module failing to communicate, which prevented the bottom HV battery from engaging.”

    Oh, so the problem was that the car thought it had less battery all of a sudden which made the warning pop up. Does that warning pop up when your battery is spent and you have no miles left? I guess that would make sense. Also surprised that it took them this long to figure it out. Is that why almost nobody had any error codes? Because running low on battery doesn’t produce an error code?

    1. Foo says:

      No, the Stop Safely Now doesn’t mean the battery is low. It means something is wrong (although apparently it has been triggered incorrectly for some people). There is a different (normal) warning then the battery is getting low.

      1. Vin says:

        Yeah, when the charge is spent the message is “Charge depleted, pull over safely”. Been there, done that.

        1. Robert says:

          Yep. Me too. Err. The exact same warning comes up also “Stop Safely Now”. Same exact warning that is involved with the Recall discussed here. I’ve had that same warning when I let the charge left get to “0” (50 yards from my driveway) and when going down the road with a full charge at 75 miles an hour in heavy rush-hour traffic. Stranded me in the left-most breakdown lane all of a sudden with a sudden loss of power. Hair raising for about 90 seconds there until the car recovered. More dangerous than base jumping. Love the car, but that’s the kind of thing that can get them sued for about 1 “B”illion dollars. Don’t let that happen.

  7. Future Tesla Driver says:

    Definitely a black eye for Ford. Hopefully this will not affect the 2014 FFE models sales ability!

    Ford should have jumped on this issue much faster than they did….

  8. Kyle090 says:

    Wow, a manufacturer actually repaired a problem rather than just issuing a press release stating why it wasn’t a problem? Another manufacturer would have done something like the following:

    IMMEDIATE RELEASE: All cars stall. While other companies literally have thousands of cars stall each and every year, we are proud that we’ve only experienced a tiny fraction of loss-of-power issues, a mere 12 reports over an entire 2 year period. Compared to gasoline powered vehicles, this is clearly a statistically insignificant number . Furthermore, our software is so sophisticated it goes the extra mile by proactively warning the driver to “stop safely now.” Due to these leading edge protections we’re developed, we’re extremely proud to report that no one has been injured.

    In summary, due to the fact that cars stall each and every day, the statistically insignificant number of issues we’ve experienced in comparison to gasoline powered vehicles has led us to the conclusion that no investigation is required. Thank you for your interest in automotive safety and for your support of the safest vehicle in the galaxy.

  9. Josh Bryant says:

    It would be hard to imagine Tesla taking so long to correct this sort of issue (or having the issue at all in the first place). Or even if F150 had a similar issue, they would have jumped on it immediately. It makes a difference if the product at hand is one that your livelihood depends on when it comes to resource allocation.

  10. Josephus says:

    FFE owner.

    While I have not experienced this issue, I am relieved and more confident in the Focus EV now. A slow response is annoying, but not having a solution is scary. Now that there is a solution, the one big fear about the FFE is removed.

    Because so few have been sold, 12 reports (not to mention unreported ones) are statistically significant.

    1. Foo says:

      I believe something like 33 consumer reports of the SSN failure (sometimes of repeated occurrences) have actually been filed with the NHTSA.

  11. Ken says:

    I’m not so confident that the problem will be fixed by this recall. Too many FFE owners have had ” updates ” done already, myself included. My car has been at the dealer since October 5th. I am hoping to see a fix, but, will be very leery driving it. BTW, my SSN occurred while I was getting ready to leave work and had just unhooked from the charging station. Thank God I wasn’t on the road.
    Also I received a recall for the “key in ignition ” chime. My car has keyless entry, so why would I get this notice?

  12. Susan says:

    As an owner of 2 of these vehicles I am not confident that this is a fix to the problem but just a bandaid approach to quieting down the customers. This is a long standing serious situation that magically has been addressed now that more attention has been placed on the issue. My family enjoys the cars but I am reluctant to let my daughter drive the car. As an inexperienced driver my concerns are her ability to manage a technical fault. I do realize that we are driving a computer and there are glitches however at 70mph on the highway is a life threatening glitch. I am counting the days until my lease expires so I can re-engage with a more proven EV manufacturer.

  13. Jeff Songster says:

    Sorry to say… but this seems to be a trait of the compliance CA cars… limited production, limited testing, limited fixes… The Toyota RAV4Ev has charge time issues that have apparently not been dealt with… this one going 400+days with a potentially hazardous situation.

    It is part of why when I narrowed my search I ended up with the LEAF. So far so good..,

  14. Jennifer says:

    We test drove a 2014 Ford Focus electric today. We backed out to start the drive and the SSN error appeared.

    We had to complete our test drive in another vehicle. Little nervous that this happened in a 2014. We did still buy one since I generally commute 2 hours round trip and by myself. I wanted an electric and my husband is on a buy American kick. Will likely wait on transporting my toddlers in it.

  15. Dave says:

    I want to know why Ford executed a recall on this problem but has not done the same on the Ford Fusion throttle box problem that dates back to 2004. The throttle box fault has the exact same ‘stop safely now’ logic settle the car at idle power and has many complaints of the event occurring at highway speeds. instead of a ‘stop safely now’ warning you get a check engine light, a wrench illuminate, and the complete disabling of the gas peddle function.