Does the Ford Kuga PHEV’s Battery Fire Problems Signal Problems for the Mach-E?

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Ford launched the Kuga PHEV in the U.K. earlier this year, and so far, it’s been performing quite well, planting itself as the 10th best-selling car there in July of 2020. However, there’s a big problem brewing, with Ford being forced to recall and temporarily suspend global sales of the Juga PHEV because at least four have caught on fire. This problem seems limited to the Kuga PHEV, and Ford is only recalling models produced prior to June 26th, but does this spell trouble for other battery-electric models like, say, the Ford Mach-E?

Ford Kuga PHEV Overheating Battery and Battery Fires

Ford Kuga PHEV Stop-Sale Could Spark Worry in Ford Mach-E Customers
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Ford has recalled all Ford Kuga PHEVs produced prior to June 6h, 2020, and as if that isn’t enough, Ford can’t fix the problem that could lead to the batteries to overheat and, ultimately, catch fire quite yet. So, on top of the recall, owners have been told not to charge their vehicles and to keep them in EV Auto drive mode until further notice. Ford also hasn’t said what’s causing this specific problem, but it a statement, it did at meat that there are four vehicle fires related to the problem:

“Information from the field indicates that four vehicle fires are likely to have been caused by the overheating of the high-voltage batteries.”
Ford Kuga PHEV Stop-Sale Could Spark Worry in Ford Mach-E Customers
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Apparently, Ford is in the process of securing the parts needed to solve the problem and may not be able to start performing repairs until sometime in late August at the earliest. The company stopped short of describing what the problem might be, but did say that overheating can occur “when the vehicle is parked and unattended or is charged.” So, it’s not just limited to charging, but when the vehicle is unattended, so pretty much all of the time as it seems hard to believe that being in attendance would stop a vehicle fire if it’s not related simply to charging.

As you may or may not know, the Kuga is being sold in the United States as a Ford Escape. So far, we’ve heard nothing about the Escape just yet, but the same plug-in hybrid model is sold here. So far, there are some 27,000 Kugas that are potentially affected by this problem. The good news is that there have been no injuries thus far, and hopefully, this is a limited problem.

Does Ford Kuga Battery Overheating Mean the Ford Mach-E EV Could Also Experience Problems?

Ford Kuga PHEV Stop-Sale Could Spark Worry in Ford Mach-E Customers
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The chances are that, since the [Mach-E->art181042] is a completely different vehicle with a different battery pack, there’s probably no correlation between the Kuga’s problems and potential problems with the Mach-E.

However, I can’t help but question the likelihood that problems could pop up in the future. If Ford can’t build a simple and small high-voltage PHEV battery pack, that doesn’t exactly instill a lot of confidence in something that relies on a much larger high-voltage battery pack.

Ford Kuga PHEV Stop-Sale Could Spark Worry in Ford Mach-E Customers
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Again, the Ford Escape PHEV and Kuga PHEV aren’t really related to the Mach-E for the most part, but we’re also talking about a problem with battery fires that can, assumingly, occur at random with a much smaller battery pack. That’s a little troubling to me. I doubt anything will come from it in regard to the Mach-E, but it certainly puts a blemish on the confidence one might have in Ford’s first real all-electric vehicle. Perhaps the company hasn’t perfected its own technology yet. Either way, if you drive a Ford Escape PHEV, a Kuga PHEV, or are expecting delivery of a Mach-E, you might want to tread with a bit more caution for now.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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