Consumer Reports explains Ford Fusion Hybrid braking issue – Click above to watch the video after the break

It would seem that Toyota isn't the only automaker with braking issues on its hybrid vehicles, as Ford has reportedly issued a technical service bulletin (or "Customer Satisfaction Program" in Ford-ese) outlining a software update for its 2010 Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid sedans. The problem was experienced and reported by Consumer Reports a little while back; here's their explanation of what happened:
As one of our senior engineers slowed for a stop sign at the turnoff to our test facility in East Haddam, Connecticut, the brake pedal went unexpectedly further down than normal but the car barely slowed. He zoomed through the turn, with brake-system warning lights illuminated on the dash. The car more or less coasted to a stop, with what our engineer described as minimal brake feel.

After switching off the engine and then restarting it, everything returned to normal – no warning lights and full braking capability.
That doesn't sound very good, eh? As it turns out, Ford was aware of the potential problem. Sayeth the Blue Oval: "The software threshold to transition from regenerative brakes to conventional brakes can cause the system to transition to conventional brakes unnecessarily." Fortunately, Ford claims that while drivers "may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes... the vehicle has full braking capability. When this occurs, our system maintains full conventional brakes and full ABS function."

In an effort to resolve the issue in a timely manner, Ford has initiated a repair program and will notify all known owners by mail starting in early February 2010. Anyone who owns a Fusion or Milan Hybrid made on or before October 17, 2009 can see their dealer regarding Ford's "Customer Satisfaction Program 10B13." Click past the break for a video explaining the issue and the official statement from Ford regarding the solution.

[Sources: Consumer Reports, Ford]




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FORD CUSTOMER SATISFACTION PROGRAM

Ford is proactively announcing a customer satisfaction program to update the software of the regenerative brake system of some 2010-model Ford Fusion Hybrids and Mercury Milan Hybrids.

Dearborn, Mich., Feb. 4, 2010 – Today, we are announcing a customer satisfaction program to update the software of the regenerative brake system of some 2010-model Ford Fusion Hybrids and Mercury Milan Hybrids.

We have received reports that some drivers have experienced a different brake feel when the hybrid's unique regenerative brakes switch to conventional hydraulic braking. While the vehicles maintain full braking capability, customers may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes.

To be clear, the Fusion and Milan Hybrids' brake system maintains full conventional brakes and full ABS function even as the customer sees visual indicators and hears a chime. The software threshold to transition from regenerative brakes to conventional brakes can cause the system to transition to conventional brakes unnecessarily.

The software upgrade will reduce unnecessary occurrences of the vehicle switching from regenerative braking to conventional hydraulic brakes.

Customers with affected vehicles will receive a notice in the mail. We are asking owners of affected vehicles to have vehicle software reprogrammed at dealers at no charge.

There have been no injuries related to this condition.