Ford recalls 18 F-150 Lightnings over battery issue
Published in Automotive News
Ford Motor Co. said Friday that it is recalling 18 F-150 Lightning pickup trucks due to a battery cell manufacturing defect.
The recall follows a five-week production shutdown at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn where the electric truck is made. The automaker said Friday that production is slated to resume Monday as previously planned.
The company said in a statement that the manufacturing defect at supplier SK On's plant in Georgia occurred over a four-week span starting at the end of last year. Initially, the automaker said it believed the defect was not present in any Lightning units that had been delivered to customers or dealers, but it now has identified 18 such units that are affected.
Ford has said that the issue initially came to light Feb. 4, when a vehicle displayed a battery issue during a pre-delivery quality check and then caught fire while it was parked in a holding lot near the plant. The fire spread to two other Lightning units. That incident prompted the five-week production shutdown and a halt on shipments while Ford and SK On investigated the underlying issue.
The two companies later said the root cause had been identified in SK On's battery cell production process, and that a fix had been implemented.
"Working with Ford, SK On identified the root cause of the issue and implemented measures of improvement in our processes to address the issue," SK On said in a previous statement. "SK On believes this was a rare occurrence, not a fundamental issue with the technology of the battery cells or the overall manufacturing systems."
Asked Friday about the nature of the defect, Ford said the recalled units' high-voltage batteries can experience a short that could result in a vehicle fire when they are at a high state of charge.
The electric truck is a key part of Ford's $50 billion electrification strategy, under which it aims to hit an annual EV production rate of 2 million units globally by 2026. The Lightning is a battery-electric version of America's most popular vehicle, as well as the first mass-market EV pickup to enter the U.S. market.
Ford is working to ramp up production of the Lightning to a run rate of 150,000 units annually by the end of this year as it tries to catch up with high demand for the truck, which garnered some 200,000 reservations. Since launching last spring and through the end of February, Ford has delivered about 19,200 Lightning units.
Ford said it will notify customers with units covered by the recall "as soon as possible" to make arrangements with a dealer to have the battery pack replaced. While their vehicle is being repaired, Ford will supply affected customers with a loaner vehicle.
Customers can continue to drive and charge their Lightnings, but Ford said it "encourage(s) them to make an appointment for this repair at their earliest convenience."
The automaker said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the recall.
"Together with SK On, we have confirmed the root causes and have implemented quality actions," spokesperson Emma Bergg said in a statement. "Production is on track to resume Monday with clean stock of battery packs."
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