Ford has issued a recall for 18 F-150 Lightning pickups with failed battery cells, causing at least one truck to catch fire. The automaker will resume production of the electric truck on Monday, March 13 with a “clean stock” of battery packs, following a four-week production and shipping hiatus to investigate the cause of the defect.
Ford said the “root cause” of the problem was at South Korean battery supplier SK On’s plant in Georgia. In a statement, spokesperson Emma Bergg said the company was not aware of any reports of accidents or injuries related to this recall.
“Together with SK On, we confirmed root causes and implemented quality actions,” said Bergg. “Production is on track to resume on Monday with a clean supply of batteries.”
“Together with SK On, we confirmed root causes and implemented quality actions.”
The affected vehicles are 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 issue the recall next week.
Battery fires, while rare, remain a serious concern for EV manufacturers. More data is needed, but researchers have determined that the vast majority of electric cars have a low risk of battery fires. But when a fire breaks out, EVs with lithium-ion batteries burn hotter, faster and require more water to put out – a fact that has led some cities to retrain their emergency responders for when such incidents occur.
The most serious incident involved the Chevy Bolt, which was recalled after GM reported at least 19 battery fires caused by defective cells from the supplier LG. The car manufacturer had to temporarily stop production after a software fix could no longer prevent fires. Chevy resumed production last year after installing new battery packs.