Having recalled thousands of its Kuga PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles), Ford has confirmed it will need to replace the faulty battery units for every model.
Concerns were raised in October after seven of the low-emission sports utility vehicles caught fire while charging.
The car maker has confirmed that ‘cell contamination in the drive battery system’ was the cause of the issue, and as a result the battery packs for all models sold will need to be replaced.
The Kuga PHEV was launched in showrooms in April, with 1,800 bought by UK drivers before sales were suspended when the problem was identified. Some 27,000 have been sold globally.
In a new statement, Ford said it is ‘committed to make things right with our customers vehicles’.
It added: ‘Given the potential serious consequences that could arise from this, we have decided to install a new drive battery pack to your vehicle.’
Owners of Kuga PHEVs, which cost from £33,600, will need to hand their cars over to franchised garages for at least a full day so the dealer’s workshop can complete all of the work necessary including all software updates.
Owners will be be issued with a formal recall notice letter later this month and bookings to have the issue resolved will be made in order in which the vehicles were purchased.
Having initially said the problem would take ‘months, not weeks’ to rectify, Ford has since estimated that the first models will be fixed from late December, and the last of the 1,800 vehicles resolved by the end of March.
The SUVs will be collected and delivered back to the homes of the owner – or their place of work if requested – and they can be provided with a courtesy car whilst their vehicle is being updated if requested.
Keepers are warned that until their car is fixed they should continue to use their cars in ‘EV Auto’ mode and do not use the plug-in charger or use the Sport and Snow/Sand mode while driving.
‘As long as you do this, your vehicle remains safe to drive in EV Auto mode,’ Ford says.
This means owners can’t make use of the car’s official pure electric-only driving range of 35 miles – which is gained when the car is charged from the mains.
However, the car will still function as a ‘self-charging’ hybrid – in which the movement and braking of the car charges the vehicle’s battery while it is on the move.
It was confirmed in October that – in extreme cases – fires that can break out during charging could destroy the entire vehicle.
The firm said the seven fires took place ‘on the Continent’ not in the UK, while the vehicles were being charged overnight at home or for long periods, but that there were no casualties.
Polestar 2 recalled to replace battery inverter
All-electric car maker Polestar – the sister brand to Volvo which is also owned by Chinese firm Geely – has confirmed a recall of its first mainstream model, the Polestar 2.
It has called back cars delivered from this summer to replace ‘faulty battery inverters’, it said.
An inverter is the device that transforms the energy in the battery pack into power that’s sent to the electric motors.
Some 360 UK vehicles have been bought, with 4,586 purchased worldwide.
Poletar says the problem can be fixed in ‘a single workshop visit’.
All vehicle orders yet to be delivered will be resolved before they reach customers, though this could result in an extension of collection dates.
The manufacturer also confirmed it is replacing faulty High Voltage Coolant Heater parts in early production models, of which 138 are UK cars.
In October, Polestar issued a recall for the 2 after reports that some early examples were suffering power delivery issues while driving, which is being fixed with a software update.
Polestar on Saturday opened its first ‘hassle-free’ showroom in Westfield Shopping Centre in West London.
The store, sat among retailers, is manned by staff who can explain details of its new cars but are forbidden from selling them, with purchases strictly carried out online.
The Government’s recall service says of the Ford Kuga problem: ‘The HV (high voltage) battery pack can overheat and result in the venting of hot gas which can ignite vehicle components or in extreme cases the entire vehicle.’
Owners who want to contact Ford
If you own a Ford Kuga PHEV and have any questions you can contact the manufacturer via its Customer Relationship Centre on 02035644444.
It adds: ‘To prevent a vehicle fire the vehicles should not be charged using the external charging cable and the vehicles should only be driven using the default Auto EV mode only.’
The Kuga PHEV is powered by a 2.5-litre Duratec petrol engine linked to an electric motor giving it a combined 225 horsepower and the ability to sprint from rest to 62mph in 9.2 seconds up to a top speed of 125mph.
Blending the electric and petrol hybrid power means lower CO2 emissions.
It takes just over three hours to charge on a wallbox and six hours on a domestic plug.
In addition to a free £500 fuel card, the company has also affected owners a free three-year service and maintenance plan as a goodwill gesture over the fault.