The feds are stepping in to investigate the "Stop Safely Now" messages that a Ford Focus Electric vehicle driver reported to AutoblogGreen earlier this year. The situation is a serious one, but not widespread as Reuters reports that the NHTSA has received just 12 complaints. Not a big number considering Ford has sold 1,910 Focus EVs through August of this year, and Reuters estimates 1,000 of the EVs are included in the just-launched federal probe.
The problem now under NHTSA investigation is that the Focus EV has the tendency to simply stop providing its own momentum under certain conditions. In other words, it stalls. There have been no reports of injuries or accidents, but some of the stalls happened when the car was going over 30 miles per hour. One driver reported:
Ford told Reuters it is cooperating with NHTSA on the probe and there has not been a recall announced as of yet. We've collected the "Stop Safely Now" complaints reported to the government safety watchdog below.
[The] vehicle abruptly lost drivetrain power and came to a sudden stop in the left-hand lane of a major surface street in San Jose. The vehicle suddenly displayed the warning "Stop Safely Now". Attempts to restart or reboot the car failed leaving us dangerously stranded in moderate traffic for over 20 minutes until a nearby resident helped us to push vehicle to safety... Pushing the vehicle was very difficult, as if the brakes were engaged. The Ford dealer reported that the regenerative braking system was engaged and could not be disengaged. Ford dealership reported over 30 diagnostic trouble codes appearing on the vehicle that proved to be misleading.
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I have a Ford Focus EV 2013. Twice the car has shutdown while driving and the message appears asking you to pull over and stop. This is potentially very dangerous. Further, the sync software does not work properly. The gps shows wrong location, including that the car is at the Michigan assembly plant, clock shows wrong time, phone does not connect or will not disconnect and the rear camera picture shows while driving forward
While driving an alert comes on stating "Stop Safely Now", then the vehicle starts to lose power, giving the driver little time to pull over. If you are in the far left lane, it could be a really dangerous situation. I've taken it to the shop once before. This is the second time it happened and it is becoming an issue of concern. From the internet searches on Ford Focus Electric Stop Safely Now it appears to be a pretty large issue.
"Stop Safely Now" indicator came on while driving vehicle. At a stop light approximately 5 minutes later, the vehicle lost all power in front of intersection. This is an all electric vehicle. I placed transmission in park and attempted to power cycle car with no success for approximately 2 minutes. Once I opened the driver side front door, the car was then able to power back on. The "Stop Safely Now" warning did not reappear.
This complaint applies to the Focus Electric. While turning into a parking lot, going approximately 5mph, the vehicle abruptly lost power, the "Stop Safely Now" warning light came on, and I coasted the car to a halt at the side of the lot entrance. No other warning lights illuminated. Although the vehicle was inoperable, it also could not be turned off. Usually, pressing the power button to turn the car off disconnects the high voltage battery from the rest of the electrical system and shuts the car down, but in this situation it would just cause the warning bell and "Stop Safely Now" light to pop up again in the instrument panel. After maybe 45 minutes, right as the tow-truck driver arrived, I was suddenly able to turn the car off by pressing the button. It then functioned normally when turned back on. Luckily I was in a reasonably safe situation when the failure occurred. However, many similar complaints exist for the Focus Electric (many more in public forums than here), and the failure has occurred on the highway and in traffic for some people. Clearly the issue needs to be addressed.
Vehicle abruptly lost drivetrain power and came to a sudden stop in the left-hand lane of a major surface street in San Jose. The vehicle suddenly displayed the warning "Stop Safely Now". Attempts to restart or reboot the car failed leaving us dangerously stranded in moderate traffic for over 20 minutes until a nearby resident helped us to push vehicle to safety. All electrical systems on the vehicle continued to function but the vehicle was immobilized. Pushing the vehicle was very difficult, as if the brakes were engaged. The Ford dealer reported that the regenerative braking system was engaged and could not be disengaged. Ford dealership reported over 30 diagnostic trouble codes appearing on the vehicle that proved to be misleading. Inexperience of service team with electrical vehicles provided low confidence that they understood and repaired the cause of this failure. Ford Motor Company instructed the dealership to replace the electric motor and control module. Ford Motor Company agreed to refund or replacement of this vehicle.