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Ford recalls more than 50,000 electric-car charging cords over fire risk

There have been a slew of vehicle recalls over the last few years, but this latest notice from Ford is a little different.

Instead of calling in cars, the U.S. automaker is recalling charging cords sold with a number of its electric vehicles.

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The concern is that the cord may be used in situations that could potentially lead to a fire. Indeed, the company said in a statement released on Wednesday, August 22 that it is already “aware of some fire reports,” though it didn’t say if any injuries or serious damage had occurred as a result.

Ford is recalling about 50,000 of the 120-volt convenience charging cords that were sold with select vehicles, specifically:

  • 2012-15 Ford Focus Electric vehicles built at its Michigan Assembly Plant, Sept. 15, 2011 through March 14, 2015
  • 2013-15 Ford Fusion Energi vehicles built at its Hermosillo Assembly Plant, Sept. 4, 2012 through March 5, 2015
  • 2013-15 Ford C-MAX Energi vehicles built at its Michigan Assembly Plant, April 13, 2012 through March 14, 2015

In its statement, the car giant explained that using the affected 120-volt “convenience charge cord” with an AC outlet that is not on a dedicated circuit, or is damaged, worn, or corroded “may result in increased temperature at the wall outlet and potentially lead to a fire.”

There are 50,524 vehicles in North America with charging cords that need to be returned — 49,197 in the U.S. and 1,327 in Canada.

Ford said it will be contacting affected owners by mail, instructing them to take their vehicle to a Ford dealer to have the factory-equipped charging cord replaced with the latest version, which includes a thermistor. “The thermistor can identify over-temperature conditions at the plug/outlet interface and will discontinue charging until the temperature decreases to an appropriate level,” Ford said.

The letter to customers will also remind owners of the requirements for adequate wall outlets, and explain that extension cords “should not be used under any circumstance” to charge its vehicles.

The Ford reference number for this recall is 18S24 and the new cord will of course be offered without any cost to the vehicle owner.

In a far smaller recall, Ford has also issued a notice regarding around 100 2018 Ford Edge, 2019 Ford Flex, 2018 Lincoln MKX, and 2019 Lincoln MKT vehicles over a problem with the power supply cable fasteners that could in some circumstances lead to a fire. More details can be found on Ford’s website.

Busy year for recalls

In other notable recalls this year, Kia and its affiliate Hyundai issued a notice in June for more than half a million vehicles in the U.S. because of an airbag problem.

In March, Ford recalled 1.3 million vehicles after a fault was discovered with the steering wheel, and in February, Toyota recalled 65,000 vehicles because of “improperly fastened bolts” and another issue affecting the cars’ vehicle stability control system.

The biggest to date, however, affected airbag-maker Takata, whose faulty and dangerous inflator system forced the recall of more than 100 million vehicles from 19 automakers over several years. Takata filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

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