Ford issued a recall notice for 18 F-150 Lightning pickup trucks with faulty battery cells, which caused at least one truck to catch fire. The automaker will restart production of the electric truck on Monday, March 13, with a “clean stock” of batteries, after a four-week break in production and shipping 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, spokeswoman Emma Bergg said the company is not aware of any accident or injury reports related to the recall.
“With SK On, we confirmed the root causes and implemented quality actions,” Bergg said. “Production is on track to resume on Monday with a clean stock of batteries.”
“With SK On, we have confirmed the root causes and implemented quality actions.”
The affected vehicles are either on dealer lots or in the hands of customers, Bergg confirmed. The automaker has been in close contact with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is expected to issue the recall notice next week.
Battery fires, while rare, remain a major concern for electric vehicle manufacturers. More data is needed, but researchers have determined that the vast majority of electric vehicles pose a low risk of battery fires. However, when fires do occur, electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries burn hotter, faster, and require more water to extinguish — a fact that has led some cities 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 faulty cells from supplier LG. The automaker was forced to temporarily halt production after a software fix failed to prevent several more fires. Chevy resumed production last year after installing new batteries.