For months now, consumers have been reporting that their Ford Focus Electric vehicles have been flashing warnings at drivers to “Stop Safely Now” before stalling out.
Electric vehicles are marketed to a wide range of consumers hoping to reduce their carbon footprint and slash the amount they pay for fuel. But that might mean very little if they aren’t safe and end up causing a serious car accident in Asheville or elsewhere.
While industry insiders have been buzzing for months about a problem with Ford’s electric vehicles, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration only recently became involved, following receipt of about a dozen complaints regarding the stalling.
That’s not a huge percentage, as roughly 2,000 Ford Focus electric vehicles have been sold as of late August. Still, that doesn’t account for the fact that not every incident may have been reported. In fact, as word has not widely spread regarding the investigation, drivers may have been involved in an injury-causing crash without recognizing a manufacturing flaw was to blame.
As of right now, there haven’t been any reports of injury or accidents, but that could change as awareness grows. We do know that a number of the reported stalls occurred when the vehicle was traveling at 30 miles-per-hour or more.
As described by one driver:
The car abruptly lost power and came to a sudden halt in the left lane of a major street in a bustling California city. The vehicle had suddenly displayed a “Stop Safely Now” warning just prior to the car’s stop. The motorist proceeded to make a number of efforts to get the car to restart or reboot. However, the vehicle did not respond. The driver reported he and his passenger were left “dangerously stranded” in a moderate level of traffic for about 20 minutes until a passerby offered to help them push the vehicle to a safer location. Even pushing the vehicle proved difficult, the driver said. It almost seemed as if the brakes were engaged. The dealership, which later examined the vehicle, reportedly indicated that the regenerative braking system was not only engaged but apparently locked – and couldn’t be unlocked. The dealership also reported some 30 diagnostic trouble codes tripping the sensors on the vehicle when it was brought in, though the mechanics could not verify any of those problems indicated.
Another driver reported traveling through rush hour with his children when he stopped at a red light at a busy intersection. When the light turned green, he attempted to accelerate and nothing happened. Other drivers behind him became agitated and then he noted the “Stop Safely Now” warning. However, the vehicle was in drive, despite the fact that it would not move. He feared he and his children would be forcefully rear-ended by remaining at the light. Luckily, the power was eventually restored and he was able to move the vehicle, but he called the episode “very dangerous” and “frightening.”
All of the reported incidents supposedly occurred within the last five months and all involved the 2012 and 2013 Ford Focus Electric models.
Ford contends it is working closely with the NHTSA to determine the problem.
Most of the time, when the NHTSA gets involved, a recall is initiated. Still, it’s not clear how long that may take. In the meantime, people are still driving these vehicles, despite the potentially fatal flaw.
A vehicle that abruptly stalls out at a major intersection or highway endangers not only those inside, but everyone else sharing the road.
If you have been injured in an Asheville car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Ford Focus electric car probed in U.S for stalling while driving, Sept. 10, 2013, Staff Report, Reuters
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Speed Increasing Risks of Serious Charleston Traffic Accidents, Sept. 6, 2013, Asheville Car Accident Lawyer Blog