So far in 2013, Ford has sold roughly 600-700 Focus Electric vehicles, which can help put the fact that we have just four officially reported problems with something called the "Stop Safely Now" light into perspective.

ford focus ev stop safely nowWe were re-alerted to the issue by reader and EV fan Richard S., who described the problem this way. After putting around 1,100 miles on his new car, he got his first "Stop Safely Now" warning. He writes:

During rush hour, with both of my kids in the car, I came to a stop as the frontmost vehicle at a stoplight at a busy intersection. When the light turned green, I pressed down on the accelerator and nothing happened. I though what the...? Next thing I know, in addition to the other cars honking, a warning chime went off, a yellow wrench lit up on my dash alternating with a warning which said, "stop safely now." This wasn't much of an option as the car was in drive, I had no way to move it to park, and pressing the on/off did nothing. ... I sat there trying everything I could think of for several lights, really afraid we would be rear ended. Eventually hitting and holding the on/off button made the power cycle and power was restored, and I was able to drive.

His Ford dealer was unable to find an abnormal diagnostic code that had been logged, and Richard claims he was told to come back if the light came back. He then called Ford customer support, but "they had no other suggestions on what to do." Like many of us, he then turned to the Internet, where he discovered he's not the only one to have experienced this issue.

As you can read on Inside EVs (where you see this is not a new problem), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website (search for complaint numbers 10512459 and 10512146 for examples) and some Focus Electric forums, this is a problem that's affected a number of drivers. Richard estimates at least 20. He told AutoblogGreen:

The reason I am so concerned about this is that I consider not having any power to avoid an accident is a real safety issue. The Ford Focus Electric is sold in extremely low volumes and the fact that so many owners are reporting the identical issue points to a singular defect. The fact that it is such a low volume vehicle could make the total number of incidents seem small compared to Fords high volume vehicles, but it is relatively large percentage of the total Focus Electrics.

This seemed legitimate, so we asked Ford directly, but all we got back was the following, from Ford's Amanda Zusman:
The Stop Safely Now warning appears in the Focus Electric in lieu of the Check Engine light that is found in naturally-aspirated vehicles. As with all vehicles, there are a number of different reasons why this warning may illuminate. If a customer's Check Engine or Stop Safely Now light illuminates, they should contact their dealer.
For Richard, this will likely be cold comfort. He told us:
I really love my car, and the technology. I just would like [Ford] to make finding a fix a high priority, before someone gets a dead car at the worst time and gets really hurt. I think this technology is a great option and want Ford to offer more not less, and can't imagine what impact of bad PR of someone getting injured would be on roll-out and adoption of a great alternative


Indeed. Anyone else out there have any experience with or ideas about this?



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  • 32 Comments
      • 2 Days Ago
      I am an extremely happy Ford Focus electric owner despite having had this problem a few time in the month after I bought the car. I found it was in some cases probably related to user error. It is indeed a potentially dangerous problem. However, in my case it appears to have been related to the fact that you need to press the power button while pressing on the brake to start the car. If you press the brake by mistake just after you press the power button, the car appears to turn on but is not in drive mode. If you happen to do this while on a slope you do not realize the car is not in drive mode and the car initially moves forward, soundlessly as it always does. Its only when you accelerate that you realize the problem, Its dead and the stop safely now sign appears. Having realized this I have not had a repeat so far. While I agree this is a problem that should be fixed I find the ford focus electric to be an riduculously understated hidden gem. Most people are suprized when I tell them I have an all electric ford focus.
        Rotation
        • 2 Days Ago
        Thanks for the info. It doesn't sound like this is what's happening to everyone though. People don't turn off their EVs at stoplights. On another note, a Honda Fit EV has a key you turn to start it. If you turn it to on but do not turn to start, the car seems on and even will move under its own power, but the power steering isn't on. It's bizarre.
      Scott R
      • 1 Year Ago
      Doesn't Ford use Microsoft technology?
        Dave
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Scott R
        Yup. Close all of the windows. Shut off the car. And turn it back on again.
      MTN RANGER
      • 2 Days Ago
      EVER - Electric Vehicle with Extended Range. Fisker's rearrangement of EREV to distinguish its Karma from the Chevy Volt. A distinction without much of a difference. EVSE - Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment. It is the cord handle and related electrical equipment that is plugged into the Volt. Sometimes incorrecty called, "the charger". It is the charging interface between the electrical grid and the car. The battery charger is actually inside the car. FMM - Fuel Maintenance Mode. FMM will run the Volt engine to use up the old fuel. FOX - Fake Outragious Xanthopsia. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_journalism GPS - Global Positioning System. Used to determine your location, or that of a destination. HEV - Hybrid Electric Vehicle. Example: Prius. A gas engined car that gets an occasional acceleration assist from a small electric battery. ICE - Internal Combustion Engine. Usually accompanied by Vroooom, vrooooom. kW - kiloWatt. A unit of power. Power is the rate at which energy is generated or used. kWh - kiloWatt hour. A unit of energy. Energy is a measure of how much fuel is contained within something, or used by something over a specific period of time. The 2011-2012 Volt has a 16kWh battery and uses roughly 65% or 10.5 kWh of it. http://www.energylens.co m/articles/kw-and-kwh (kWh vs kW. Compared to the water pump, kWh is the same type of measurement as gallons, which measure total volume, where as kW relates to gallons per minute, which measures a rate of flow.) LATCH - Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. Not the same as strapping a dog to the car roof. That's a MITT. MIL - Malfunction Indicator Light. Also see CEL MM - Mountain Mode. This mode maintains a reserve electrical charge of the high voltage battery to provide better grade climbing performance. OTA - Over The Air. Some Volt software updates are downloaded and installed via the OnStar antenna. Otherwise, the car must be taken to the dealer for the update. PDI - Pre-Delivery Inspection. PDF here: http://gm-volt.com/forum/attachment....4&d=1316287262 PHEV - Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle. An HEV with the ability to plug-in its energy storage system to get recharged with electricity from the grid. PZEV - Partial Zero Emission Vehicle. RAP - Retained Accessory Power. The state the car is in when you turn it off but have not yet opened the door. RKE - Remote Keyless Entry. A proximity sensor will unlock the car when you get near with the key. RVC - Rear Vision Camera. A camera in the rear, with the image displaying in the center console. SFC - Specific Fuel Consumption. SOC - State Of Charge. Measures how much useable electricity is left in the battery. SOH - Battery State of Health or temperature corrected estimated capacity. Measured in Ah's. TCS - Traction Control System. Helps prevent tires from slipping. TMS - Thermal Management System. Monitors and maintains the battery pack temperature for optimum performance.
      • 2 Days Ago
      I have a 2014 Ford Focus EV that I got on March 20 2014, now I've gotten this issue at least 15 times. I took my car to the dealer to fix but they didn't have any clue. I have another appointment with them , hopefully they will fix it otherwise I will take legal actions.
      • 2 Days Ago
      Yes we have experienced the same issue with our Ford Focus Electric. The Stop Now Safely warning provides the driver with very little time to respond before the car just quits and leaves you stranded in the middle of the highway. Ford has not been able to resolve the issue and doesn't seem to care at this point. I'm sure they will when someone gets killed or hurt and they have a lawsuit on their hands. The car was great until they completed the most recent software upgrade. I think it would have been great if they tested the software before they rolled it out and broke people’s cars. One of the other issues we now have is with the My Ford Mobile application which was working perfectly before the most recent software upgrade. Here are a few functions that are no longer available without the Ford Mobile Application. No remote starting or locking of the car. No remote cooling, No remote battery charge status, No remote tracking, No Charging station locations. No mileage tracking and comparison of fuel versus electricity cost. The car is half of what it was. Then to top it off they reduced the new model by $4000. I guess as a result of all the functionality loss. We use to be big advocates for the car not anymore. Thanks Ford we will never purchase another Ford in this life time
      Spec
      • 2 Days Ago
      I bet Ford really regrets the path they took with this vehicle. The out-sourced conversion seems to have failed. It is too expensive, kludgey, and now buggy.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sounds like the embeded OS crashed. It is unfortunate that ford doesn't display an error code to indicate why it failed. A software patch would likely be needed to fix this issue. As cars become more and more computerized it will become more difficult to fully test all codepaths before vehicles leave the factory. If Ford had remote diagnostics and over the air updates(ala Tesla) finding and fixing this bug would be much easier.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Days Ago
      My ebike i built out of random cheap chinese parts is more reliable than this. C'mon Ford.
        taser it
        • 2 Days Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Please post some pictures of your randorm ,cheap, chinese ebike so that we may observe your engineering prowess.
          EZEE
          • 2 Days Ago
          @taser it
          Don't be a hater....
      • 2 Days Ago
      It "Stop Safely Now" just happened while my son was driving my car.
      • 2 Days Ago
      I have a 2014 Ford Focus EV that I got on March 20 2014, now I've gotten this issue at least 15 times. I took my car to the dealer to fix but they didn't have any clue. I have another appointment with them , hopefully they will fix it otherwise I will take legal actions.
      taser it
      • 2 Days Ago
      Ahh the perils of early adoption: compliance cars and 3rd party EV platforms = beta products? Reminds me of the time I rushed out to buy a netbook.
      Jiminy StAck
      • 2 Days Ago
      I have a 2013 FOCUS EV and have never has this problem. I have over 4,000 miles and it runs great. Maybe new software took care of this issue? We also have a LEAF for over 2 years and 24K miles with no problems. Friends have the Tesla and Smart-ED and never had any similar problems. Most EVs and batteries have been flawless. Others we know have all sorts of problems and maintenance with their gas cars and it costs them plenty. It adds up to about twice the cost of the car over 7-10 years. Along with their having to stop ar fuel stations, get oil changes and all sorts of things like air filters, brakes, transmission work , exhaust systems that doen't even have or need.
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