Six months after Ford issued a recall over a fire risk and its charge cords, some drivers of Ford plug-in vehicles still don’t have the peace of mind of a new charge cord.
The recall, issued last August, affected or the 120V AC “convenience charge cord” that Ford supplies with more than 49,000 U.S.-market vehicles—including specific build dates that cover the 2012-2015 Ford Focus Electric, 2013-2015 Ford C-Max Energi, and 2013-2015 Ford Fusion Energi.
Beginning on March 14, 2015, Ford began shipping an updated 120V charge cord that included a thermistor that can temporarily stop charging if the unit gets too hot where it’s plugged into the wall outlet. The affected charge cords don’t have that, and Ford says that it “identified an elevated rate of allegations of melting and fire” involving those earlier cords.
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Incomplete or slow charge cycles can be an early indication of the issue, according to Ford—as well as the obvious signs, such as “visible melting damage of the area surrounding the charge cord plug and/or odor.”
In January, Ford notified owners of the Focus Electric that new charge cords were available. But the replacement cords for Ford’s Energi plug-in hybrids haven’t yet arrived.
When asked for an update by Green Car Reports Ford only said: “For affected C-Max and Fusion Energi vehicles, we are working with our suppliers to receive parts as quickly as possible. Owners will be notified when parts are available.”
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Adding to the confusion, Ford had advised several owners (GCR has been contacted at least twice) of affected vehicles that the cords needed to be inspected, with some told by the dealership they still needed to test the old cord.
Charging cord for 2012 Ford Focus Electric
Ford now uses more precise language that it will replace the cord for all vehicles that fall within those build dates—and what will happen to the old one. “Dealers will replace the factory-equipped 120 volt convenience charge cord with the latest version of the 120-volt convenience cord that includes a thermistor. The old cord will be destroyed,” said Ford spokeswoman Monique Brentley.
All owners are advised to visit their Ford dealership, bringing their old charge cord, as soon as they’re notified the new ones are available.
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Ford advises that the cord remains safe to use on its own, and that the safety mechanism only pertains to improper use. Examples of what Ford sees as improper use include:
- a loose, worn or damaged AC wall outlet
- an extension cord
- a two-prong adapter
- a surge protector
- a timer
- any other adapter
Whether they have the updated cord or not, owners of the Ford vehicles are advised not to use extension cords.
Owners can call Ford customer service is at 866-436-7332, and the Ford recall number is 18S24. We’ll keep an eye on the situation, but if you drive a C-Max or Fusion Energi we strongly recommend that you check back with them—frequently—for updates.