Ford has issued a recall notice for 18 F-150 Lightning pickup trucks with defective battery cells, causing at least one truck to catch fire. The automaker will restart electric truck production on Monday, March 13th, with a “clean stock” of battery packs, after a four-week stoppage of production and shipping to investigate the cause of the defect.
Ford said the “root” of the issue was at South Korean battery supplier SK On’s factory in Georgia. In a statement, spokeswoman Emma Bergg said the company is not aware of any reports of accidents or injuries related to this recall.
“With SK On, we were able to confirm the root causes and implement quality actions,” says Bergg. “Production is on track to resume Monday with a clean stock of battery packs.”
“Together with SK On, we confirmed the root causes and implemented quality actions.”
Affected vehicles are either on dealer lots or in customer hands, Bergg confirmed. The automaker has been in close contact with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is expected to publish a recall notice next week.
Battery fires, although rare, remain a serious concern for EV manufacturers. More data is needed, but the researchers determined that most EVs are at low risk for battery fires. However, when a fire does occur, EVs with lithium-ion batteries burn hotter, faster, and require more water to put out — a fact that has led some towns to retrain their emergency responders when such incidents occur.
The most serious incident involved the Chevy Bolt, which was recalled after GM reported at least 19 battery fires due to defective cells from supplier LG. The automaker was forced temporarily shut down production after a software fix failed to prevent more fires. Chevy production resumed last year after installing new battery packs.