As the attention surrounding zero-emission modes of transportation has been heating up, so have the electric vehicles themselves. Literally. Ford’s Kuga model, which is a plug-in hybrid SUV sold in the European market, has been the subject of a recall spanning across 20,500 cars after several fires started from the model’s batteries.
Ford has urged all Kuga owners to refrain from plugging their vehicles into walls, and to instead operate them on the hybrid mode instead of charging them. Ford has also issued over 500 gasoline cards to the unfortunate Kuga drivers as a means of reimbursing them for the foregone fuel economy. As a result of the spontaneous battery fires, Ford has pushed back the launch of its plug-in hybrid Escape SUV in the US until 2021, given that the Kuga models share similar parts with its American equivalent, including the engine and battery.
According to Bloomberg, Ford has originally planned to begin production on the hybrid Escape model in Spring 2020, but due to the pandemic, several of the automaker’s factories had to be temporarily shut down. This ultimately delayed the vehicle’s release, which now will be even further delayed into 2021 due to its European counterpart’s unexpected fire-starting capabilities. Nonetheless, Ford has been recovering decently following its pandemic-induced lows back in March.
Although this may seem like Ford will now fall behind in the zero-emissions vehicle manufacturing race, it appears that its competitive pal General Motors is also suffering from spontaneous fires in its electric vehicles. The US government’s road safety agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has begun investigating complaints of GM’s Chevrolet Bolts starting on fire.
According to documents released on the agency’s website, there have been three reports of fires starting in the vehicle’s battery compartment area while they were parked and unattended. One of the complaints, which came from a Bolt owner in Massachusetts, stated that the fire began after the vehicle was plugged into the wall for over an hour. It took nearly three hours for firefighters to put the blaze out, while the vehicle owners complained of headaches from the smoke.
Another Bolt owner in Virginia was also very unlucky. After their vehicle sat in the driveway for not even twenty minutes, smoke began billowing from the rear end of the Bolt, which prompted firefighters to douse the fire with water for nearly an hour before leaving the area. However, the fire restarted within less than an hour, which had to be put out once again. Then, after the vehicle was towed to the GM dealership, the fire erupted a third time. Although no recall for the Chevrolet Bolts has been issued yet, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to investigate.
Information for this briefing was found via Ford, Bloomberg, GM, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.