Electric vehicles and hybrids may be better for the environment, but some flaws still need to be addressed. For example, Ford has recently recalled about 14,500 Fusion Energi hybrid vehicles for potential battery fires.
According to the recall notice, affected 2019 and 2020 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) have experienced issues with their energy control modules. The affected cars typically have 30Ah high-voltage batteries located underneath the trunk. When these battery modules fail, they may cause vehicles to lose power or spark fires unexpectedly.
So far, there are seven confirmed reports of fires occurring. The first five occurred while vehicles were in the shop after failing to start or lost power while in operation. The other two occurred while the cars were being driven by their owners. An additional 270 warranty claims are on record for power loss as well.
Currently, there is no known fix for the issue. In fact, Ford has yet to identify the reason that the battery modules are failing in the first place. Until a solution is found, the carmaker has warned owners not to charge the battery above half to reduce the risk of power loss and fires.
When a solution is found, Ford will notify owners of affected vehicles. Until then, if you have a Fusion Energi PHEV, you may not be able to rely on its hybrid features without putting yourself and your car at risk. However, you might be eligible for a lemon claim instead. Here’s what you need to know Ford Fusion Energi fires and when your car could qualify for a refund or replacement under California lemon laws.
Why Are Fusion Energi Cars Catching Fire?
So far, Ford engineers have traced the fire to faulty battery control modules. These modules regulate how much electricity flows through the engine at once. Over time, the modules in affected Fusions may be damaged by routine use.
Unfortunately, the fires in affected vehicles damage the modules even further, making it difficult to tell exactly what is causing the initial spark. As such, there is no firm answer for why the fires are starting. It appears that higher charges are most likely to lead to battery failures and fires, so keeping the battery charged less than halfway is the best way to keep yourself safe.
In most cases, the PHEVs lost power before a fire started. Furthermore, most drivers saw “Stop Safely Now” messages on their vehicles’ displays before losing power. As such, the battery module problem is unlikely to cause deadly accidents.
However, it is still necessary to pay close attention to your car because of the battery’s location. Since the fires start at the back of the vehicle, they are harder to notice when driving than other common car fires. Watch for signs of smoke when driving just in case your Fusion Energi fails to warn you before a fire begins.
Why Electric Car Fires Are So Common
The Fusion car battery fires are far from the only electric vehicle (EV) fires reported in recent years. Ironically, despite relying less on combustion engines, EVs are prone to serious fires due to their high-voltage batteries.
Manufacturers have made huge strides in battery technology to give these vehicles the range and speed of traditional cars. Unfortunately, since this technology is so new, there is little standardization. Additionally, carmakers want to maintain their intellectual property, so they may not share important safety information.
As a result, every battery and vehicle is a bit of an experiment. While manufacturers do perform safety tests, some flaws still slip through. A small wiring error can lead to a major fire when connected to a battery that stores enough energy to power the average house for a week.
Car Batteries and Lemon Eligibility
If you own an EV or PHEV that has had issues with its battery, you may be eligible to file a lemon claim. This is a type of warranty claim protected under California law. Carmakers are obligated to refund or replace vehicles for manufacturing defects that impact a vehicle’s utility, safety, or value if they cannot be repaired in a reasonable number of attempts.
There are a few caveats, of course. In California, your car must first demonstrate the defect within 18 months or 18,000 miles of purchase. Additionally, the manufacturer must have had up to four chances to repair the issue before you can file a lemon claim. Finally, lemon claims can only be filed if the manufacturer can’t fix the problem.
That means that car battery problems are not always grounds for a lemon claim. After all, most car batteries are easily and cheaply replaced. However, EVs and PHEVs are the exception. These batteries are not intended to be replaced often and are a fundamental part of the vehicle. If your Ford Fusion Energi has had repeated issues with a battery failing, it could be grounds for a lemon claim.
Discuss Your Faulty Electric Car With the Lemon Law Guys
Buying a PHEV is a big investment. If you can’t use it as a hybrid because its battery is faulty, you’re not getting the benefits you were promised when you bought the car. If you’ve had ongoing problems with your car’s battery, power module, or other system, and the manufacturer can’t seem to fix things, you might have a lemon on your hands. If that sounds familiar, it’s time to talk to Johnson & Buxton – The Lemon Law Guys. We have years of experience on both sides of California lemon law claims. We understand the ins and outs of successfully getting your car refunded or replaced. Schedule your consultation today to discuss your concerns and learn more about how we can help you get your money back for your defective Ford Fusion.