According to a recent report by Detroit Free Press that was shared online by Yahoo, three owners of 2021 and/or 2022 Mustang Mach-E electric crossovers have filed a lawsuit against Ford. The owners suggest that the company has been aware of the problem with the high-voltage battery's main contactor for some time, though it doesn't know how to fix it.
For background, Ford recalled nearly 50,000 Mustang Mach-E SUVs back in June 2022. The company noted that dealers must stop delivering the vehicles, and a fix would come later. More recently, reports surfaced that the recall fix software became available at dealers.
With all of that said, it seems the software update doesn't actually solve the problem. Instead, it should allow owners to drive their Mustang Mach-E to a dealer in a reduced power mode rather than being stranded with a car that has no power or won't start. Desai Law Firm lawyer Aashish Desai shared with the Free Press via Yahoo:
"Companies go through recalls all the time. But when you have damages that affect a safety issue and the company doesn't appear to have a solution, then you get into a problem that nobody wants to drive around a car that may stop working while they're driving. I'm shocked they still have these cars out on the road."
In summary, the lawsuit points out that the Mach-E has a "defective high voltage battery main contactor that could overheat." If the issue arises, the car could lose power or fail to restart. Ford is aware that the contactors are "prone to fail during ordinary and foreseeable driving situations."
The language goes on to explain that Ford knows the situation that could arise from the failing high-voltage battery contactors could make Mustang Mach-E owners "vulnerable to crashes, serious injuries, and death." To be clear, Ford maintains that it's not aware of any injuries or deaths caused by the issue.
The three owners note that while they were alerted of the recall by their local Ford dealer, there still isn't a working solution for the problem. Thus, they are stuck driving a vehicle around that might fail at any time. They go so far as to suggest that since Ford was aware of the issue long ago, owners should have been informed at the time of purchase or lease. The lawsuit says:
"Ford was provided notice of these issues and defects by numerous complaints filed against it, as well as its own internal knowledge derived from testing and internal expert analysis."
Essentially, the lawsuit is an attempt to go after Ford for being "deceptive" to customers by withholding information about the defect. It also requests an explanation from Ford about how an over-the-air software update might work to correct an issue caused by a hardware failure.
A Ford spokesperson reportedly told the Free Press that the software update is meant to protect the battery contactors. And, if owners have any issues, the hardware fix is covered under the crossover's warranty.
The report goes on to share that Ford had been made aware of the issue as early as a year ago. However, it waited 11 months to issue a recall. It also notes that if Ford is just going to use an over-the-air software update to cut power, it could also result in slower acceleration and recharging times.
The people suing Ford hope to have the defective hardware in their electric cars completely repaired or replaced. The law firm representing the Mustang Mach-E owners intends to have the case certified as a class action lawsuit. Lawyers from the firm shared that several other Mach-E owners have already contacted them.