Ford Focus Electric: Shutdown Problems While Driving Gets Official As NHSTA Investigates

4 years ago by Jay Cole 9

NHTSA Opens Official Focus Electric Probe

NHTSA Opens Official Focus Electric Probe

It has a problem we are all too well acquainted with – the “Stop Safely Now” warning on the Ford Focus Electric.

Not What You Want To See Wile Driving

Not What You Want To See Wile Driving (Inside EVs-Marc Lee)

We first encountered this probem in October of 2012, when our own Marc Lee’s 2013 Focus Electric decided it was done with being in motion and issued the warning.  Fortunately, Marc was not driving at the time.  However, even back then there were a couple reports of people who were driving when the car shutdown.

Ford had issued some statements on the issue, and had assured consumers its product was safe to drive.

But by June we had personally heard 7 or 8 stories on how the car had failed to perform in the real world, and filed this report which detailed an owner’s story about the Focus Electric failing at a busy intersection with his family in the car.  The problem had not been resolved, it had gotten worse.

At the time, InsideEVs got in touch with Ford, and their rep Amanda Zusman addressed in thusly (while offering to send particular customer’s concerns with their Focus Electric direct to Ford’s Engineering team):

“In regard to your note, the Stop Safely Now warning appears in the Focus Electric in lieu of the Check Engine light that is found in naturally-aspirated vehicles. As with all vehicles, there are a number of different reasons why this warning may illuminate. If a customer’s Check Engine or Stop Safely Now light illuminates, they should contact their dealer.”

This Ford Focus Electric Seems To Operating As Intended

This Ford Focus Electric Seems To Operating As Intended

Now, the NHSTA is finally involved as they opened an investigation on the Focus Electric after they have received 12 complaints specific to the incident of propulsion failure.

Of the 12 the NHSTA lists, 11 are noted as occurring when the car was in motion.  6 above 30 mph.

The NHSTA notes an increasing trend of reports and a preliminary evaluation has been opened to “assess the scope, scope and safety consequences with the alleged defect.”  The investigation includes all Focus Electrics sold, which the NHSTA estimates at around 1,000 (in reality 1,910 Focus Electrics have been sold in the US).  First official deliveries began in May of 2012.

These Official Documents Aren't Going to Please Ford

These Official Documents Aren’t Going to Please Ford

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9 responses to "Ford Focus Electric: Shutdown Problems While Driving Gets Official As NHSTA Investigates"

  1. Bloggin says:

    So it looks like NHSTA opened an Preliminary investigation, to see if it’s more than just the same 11 people complaining to the NHSTA and on blogs, or if it’s a more broad issue.

    But it seems Ford is ahead of this issue with a solution, based on the blog posts of consumers as of August:

    “After having the SSN message twice and my car in the shop for almost a month. It appears that they fixed my car. The wiring harness from the electric drive motor and PCM was replaced! All software was reloaded and I have put about a thousand miles on it without any trouble. My car has just over 10,000 miles on it.”

  2. Spec says:

    Time for Ford and Magna to get into a finger-pointing fight.

  3. Future EV Driver says:

    Ford will have this corrected by Gen2 along with the trunk space issue.

    Just avoid current model unless you don’t mind an occasional suprise shutdown! —Not a good first model for them!

    1. Foo says:

      I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but I’ve put 10K on my FFE so far and no SSN. I think it’s just some were built incorrectly… bad high-voltage connections is what I suspect. Most people that have an SSN seem to run into it quite early (after only a few thousand miles), perhaps after a few bumps in the road. They also seem to keep getting them.

      The car for some reason apparently doesn’t log any codes when an SSN occurs (or so say people who’ve taken their FFE in to be looked at). And all the under-trained dealer techs seem to be able to do is maybe “jiggle the wires”, replace whole components (likely without addressing the fundamental issue), or pointlessly reload software. They understand spark plugs, they don’t understand electronics and software.

      But, the dealerships really are clueless about EVs. My dealership suggested that I not play the radio too loud… you know, to conserve range. They also send me coupons for free oil changes.

      1. Aaron says:

        Elon is right — regular dealerships know nothing about electric vehicles. While the single salesperson at the Mitsubishi dealership that was certified on the i-MiEV knew what he was talking about, the rest of the dealership was completely ignorant of it.

        I even had a lengthy email discussion with the service manager about the service intervals of the i-MiEV and the predicted costs. My calculation: $100 for the first year (including a battery check that isn’t technically required anymore). His calculation: Nearly $1500 for the first year.

        Are you kidding me? When are dealerships going to learn to stop f***ing their customers over? When Tesla gets their way and manufacturers are allowed to directly sell their vehicles again?

    2. Spec says:

      Yeah, I don’t think there will be any Gen 2 of this car.

  4. Wallace says:

    Building a perfect EV is not easy. I was really into eBikes back in 08 and I seen first hand how expensive and how hard it is to do. Hope they fix the problem fast, we don’t need any bad publicity. If this happened to the Volt we would never hear the end of it.
    Thankfully my Volt is perfection. GM had a head start in this technology with the EV1. I believe it will be the longest lasting car on the road.
    I just did my 1 year required maintenance, cost= $16= tire rotation. That’s all. The dealer wanted to do an oil change, but with GM we got Onstar backing us up. Onstar sends an email every month detailing all maintenance required. Each month Onstar said no maintenance required, until just now when they said tire rotation. So I just give the dealer the Onstar report.

    1. David Stone says:

      They always want to do an oil change because it is something that is garanteed not to go wrong – because nothing would go wrong even without it.

      Dealers and mechanics want to keep the open secret from becoming common knowledge:
      adding oil: yes
      changing oil filter: yes
      changing oil: no

  5. Ted Fredrick says:

    I had the stop safely warning and the software update fixed it. 1500 mile later no problems