Electric and hybrid cars may be all the rage, but even the most cutting-edge vehicles can still be prone to defects and dangers.
Automobile giant Ford has issued a recall for almost 15,000 of its Fusion hybrid vehicles because of an issue that could lead to power loss and battery fires. The auto company explained that the affected vehicles’ batteries have a current interrupt device (CID) that can send too much current through the battery energy control module (BECM), damaging the part. At best, the overcharge would result in a loss of power during operation. At worst, they can lead to fires – Ford reported that five fires have already occurred at dealerships where technicians were replacing the BECM, while another two fires occurred while driving.
Ford advised affected car owners not to plug in their vehicles or charge the batteries until a repair is available.
The recall specifically affects the plug-in hybrid variants of the sedan from the 2019 and 2020 model years. The regular hybrid and nonhybrid Fusions are unaffected by the issue.
The danger of hybrid car fires
According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 560 people perished in 2018 due to vehicle fires. Vehicle fires also caused approximately $1.9 billion in property damage losses in the U.S.
You might think a hybrid car fire isn’t different from any other vehicle fire, but statistics say their frequency eclipses other types of automobiles.
Research shows hybrid vehicles are more likely to experience vehicle fires than gas-powered or purely electric vehicles (EVs) because of a gas engine next to a high-powered battery. The same study also found that based on the type of fire risk recalls, issues with batteries were the most likely reasons for vehicle fires in electric and hybrid vehicles.
If your hybrid car catches fire, you may also be at risk of burn injuries. You could also suffer from chemical burns if you come into contact with battery acid and fatal carbon monoxide poisoning from the fumes. If the vehicle was parked inside your home, you can also expect the fire to damage your property.
In the event your hybrid vehicle bursts into flames and causes injuries and property damage, consider filing a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. But holding an automaker accountable for a dangerous defect can be an uphill battle, especially if the company has enough funds to drag the dispute into a protracted court battle. You might need professional legal counsel to better your chances in court.