Ford Holds Its Horses With A Stop-Sale Order And Recall For Its Mustang Mach-E Electric Crossover

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Ford recalls the Mustang Mach-E, a solid reason to get your next new car in a fun color, adorable microcar news. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

More Ponies, More Problems

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Photo credit: Ford

Building cars is hard, and electric cars can be a whole different sort of hard. As such, Ford has recalled 48,924 Mach-E electric crossovers built between May 27, 2020 and May 24, 2022 for high voltage contactors that could overheat and either open up or weld themselves shut. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t exactly seem ideal to me. NHTSA’s Recall Report breaks down how high current through the contactors can lead to problems:

Direct Current (“DC”) fast charging and repeated wide open pedal events can cause the high voltage battery main contactors to overheat. Overheating may lead to arcing and deformation of the electrical contact surfaces, which can result in a contactor that remains open or a contactor that welds closed.

So how does a failed high voltage contactor manifest itself, and what are the next steps? Well, the first part is easy to answer. Mustang Mach-E models that experience high voltage contactor failure will typically display one of two failure signals. NHTSA recall documents break it down:

If the contactor opens while driving, a powertrain malfunction warning light will be illuminated and the vehicle will display ‘Stop Safely Now’ in the cluster when the vehicle experiences an immediate loss of motive power. Should the contactors weld closed while driving, a powertrain malfunction warning light will be illuminated on the next drive cycle, along with a no start condition.”

So, no big chance of fiery death, no sparks, rather undramatic. That doesn’t mean it’s not a pain to have a car crap out on the freeway, but it could definitely be worse. Since it kind of sucks to suffer this sort of failure, Automotive News reports that Ford’s issued a stop-sale on in-stock Mach-E units until they receive proper repair. So what about the fix? Well, it’s simple and complicated all at once. The simplicity comes by way of an over-the-air software update for the Secondary On-Board Diagnostic Control Module and Battery Energy Control Module. The complexity comes by questions of what the software update’s effect on performance might be. From NHTSA documentation:

The remedy for this program is a Secondary On-Board Diagnostic Control Module (SOBDMC) and Battery Energy Control Module (BECM) software update. Ford is anticipated to begin Over-The-Air (OTA) deployment to update the SOBDMC an BECM software for affected vehicles in July 2022. Alternatively, owners will have the option to take their vehicle to a Ford or Lincoln dealer to complete the software update. There will be no charge for this service.

Ford provided the general reimbursement plan for the cost of remedies paid for by vehicle owners prior to notification of a safety recall in May 2021. The ending date for reimbursement eligibility is estimated to be January 31, 2023

Given that fast charging and wide open throttle (WOT) events are causing the problem, I’m curious if the software updates will affect charging speed or overall vehicle performance. I’ve reached out to Ford for an answer and will keep you updated as further news arises. Honestly, as far as EV recalls go, this one doesn’t feel like a huge deal. It certainly wouldn’t stop me from considering a Mach-E as they’re just so damn fun to drive for what they are.

[Editor’s Note: It’s worth noting that Ford doesn’t know of any accidents or injuries related to this issue, though apparently the company has seen some warranty claims. It’s also worth mentioning that, though there’s no explicit mention of any sort of battery cell thermal concern, contactors represent an important safety component of any electric vehicle. When they open, they isolate the high-voltage pack from the rest of the vehicle. From Texas Instrument’s paper on contactors:

“The battery and the traction inverter are electrically isolated by main contactors when the vehicle is switched off for safety reasons. The main positive contactor is between the positive battery pole and the traction inverter while the main negative contactor is between the negative battery pole and the traction inverter. Both these contactors are required for safety robustness.”

So, though the recall documents only mentions warning lights, loss of “motive power,” and no-start conditions, a failed (especially closed) contactor can theoretically lead to more dire concerns. Frankly, I’m surprised they’re not mentioned in the NHTSA recall document.  -DT].

Speaking Of Recalls

Airbag Light
Photo credit: “airbag” by C Jill Reed is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Look, we’ve heard warnings about faulty parts like Takata airbags and BMW PCV systems for years now, but it seems like Americans are still hesitant to get recall work done. According to CarFax, more than 50 million American vehicles are subject to open recalls, a rather bad sign considering the seriousness of some defects.

Honestly, there could be many reasons for not taking a car in to get recall work done. Maybe the time off of work just isn’t there, maybe the vehicle’s sitting derelict in your yard, maybe the vehicle’s now a race car and shrapnel-spewing airbags can’t hurt you if they’re not installed. However, if a vehicle with an open recall is being used on public roads and you have the time to get some recall work done, please get it done. It costs nothing and could prevent you from getting hurt or your vehicle from getting damaged.

Get The Good Color

Pts Cars
Photo credit: Porsche

I’m sure you’ve heard the line of thought that greyscale colors are good for resale value time and time again. Hell, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard it, I’d probably have enough to scoop a PTS allocation on a Porsche 718 Boxster. A good thing, as the belief of greyscale colors boosting resale value might be entirely bogus.

Automotive research site iSeeCars.com has released a study on more than 650,000 listings for three-year-old cars comparing list price to new manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP), then sorting by color to see which colors retained the most value. The results are rather interesting to say the least. Leading the resale value charge are yellow, orange, and purple cars, although those do come with some minor caveats. See, it’s not typical for mass-market cars to offer those colors, so retained value might be skewed by segment. You know what is typically available on most cars though? Red paint, clocking in at just $5,399 below MSRP on average. Green paint is also well-represented at $5,596 below MSRP on average. Mind you, not all colors are winners – brown vehicles experienced an average $7,642 drop from MSRP, making them the biggest losers in this study. Honestly, there’s pretty strong evidence here for optioning your next good car in a good color. Not only can you drive a car in a color you enjoy, you can likely sleep soundly knowing that the next owner will likely pay a premium for it.

Good News, Microlino Deliveries Are Right Around The Corner

Microlino
Photo credit: Micro Mobility Systems AG

With all the doom and gloom of recalls and supply chain shortages, it’s time for a bit of levity. How about a tribute to the Isetta that’s about as adorable as a basket of Golden Retriever puppies? Yes, deliveries of the Microlino are about to start and man, I just love it so much.

The first Pioneer Series models of the Microlino 2.0 are being made in Turin, with first deliveries expected this summer. Legally-speaking, the Microlino is a quadricycle because it doesn’t offer much in the way of footprint or performance. Top speed is a modest 55 mph, weight clocks in at just 1,179 pounds, and range with the big 14 kWh battery is officially quoted as a “sufficient” 142 miles. Rather low figures, but its makers have never been shy about honesty. Hell, if you go to the Microlino’s website, the tagline reads, “This is not a car!” How can you not find that cute? While the Pioneer Series Microlino 2.0 retails for 20,999 Swiss Francs ($21,002 USD), the base model clocks in at 14,990 CHF ($14,992 USD). A bit pricey for a city-focused EV, but really not bad for such a fantastic fashion statement.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Say, this microcar talk has me wondering. Let’s say that you have unlimited money to buy two cars, but they need to have a combined length of less than 21 feet. What are you picking?

Lead photo credit: Ford

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46 Responses

  1. Mmm unlimited money to buy two cars and not go past 21 feet….hmmmmm

    EASY 1961 Lincoln Continental and a peel 50. Bam! Easily store the Peel in the big lincs trunk untill needed…let’s ride!

      1. At no time in my daily life am I seriously constrained by vehicle size, so a larger truck offers real upsides (rear seat space, bed space, towing, V8 power) with virtually no downsides, especially in a fantasy exercise where cost is irrelevant.

        1. Oh I get the fantasy thing but if we are going fantasy then why not a supercar. Larger trucks are worse to drive, perform worse on the track and are actually not better off-roading. So to me I just see the fetishization of super trucks to be pointless and comical. Give me a small offroad truck and a sports car since it is fantasy.

          1. I read the question as “you only get these vehicles”. So I need something that can carry my kids and tow a trailer. As far as I know, there is no combination of sports car + small truck that fits under 21 feet combined length anyways. At least not that I’d want to drive.

            Maybe a small supercar and a UTV would make the cut.

    1. How about that new German Panther Tank. Not sure the length but screw it park where you want, drive where you want, anyone complains shoot them with that big new gun.
      You people make things way to complicated. S/

  2. As one of the 50 million out there with an unresolved recall I can say that I have tried. I have had our Pacifica in 4 different times and the dealer keeps not completing the repair. Attempt 5 will be made soon but let’s just say that I am skeptical at this point.

  3. That Microlino looks pretty awesome. I wouldn’t mind having one of those to tool around town. However, unless a lot of that price is tax it’s pretty expensive.

    One problem with the 21ft challenge is that it forces you into two choices that are quite small. Obvious choice would be two kei-class vehicles, one fun car like a Honda Beat or an Autozam AZ-1 and one practical vehicle like a Suzuki Carry. However, one interesting variant on the fun car choice is a Caterham 7, which is less than 11 feet long and still qualifies with some Suzuki Carry variants at under 10 feet.

  4. The day I dont buy a color on my car.. AND get an interior color to go with it.. of some type, is the day HELL has truely frozen over.

    My first.. was Brown with a red interior.
    My second.. was red with a tan interior
    My third was Blue with a grey leather..
    My forth.. is Blue exterior with grey plastic cladding on the Quarters.. and blue interior with matching blue vinyl seats.

    Some kinda stupid… to spend more than 2-3x what Id ever spend on a car.. and not even get a color on the body or interior?

    1. I have had orange, green, silver, red, blue that looked black, grey, and white.
      The white is a cheap pickup and the grey is because they gave me a deal on the package I wanted on the lot. I’ll never do that again. Worth paying a little more to have a color you like. The bluish black was just a disappointment.
      Still might want a blue vehicle and a yellow vehicle, but I would do another orange or green.

      1. Rust Purplish Karmann Ghia, Green VW Squareback, Blue Mercedes 220S, Orange Renault R5, Yellow Porshe 914 2 liter, Maroon VW Cabriolet, Cream Beige VW Campervan, Red VW Cabriolet, Silver Rabbit GTI, Emerald Green Saab 900 S Convertible, White Del Sol, Blue BMW 650R, WTF goldfish platinumish silverfish Accord, Copper Orange Fit, and there are more, but now, sadly a White Lexus RX300, The White Del Sol, a White Ionic, and the green Saab. The 86 Maroon Cabriolet is still in the shop, so it doesn’t count. I remember an early Top Gear episode where the talked about not buying colors due to resale value. Then a few years later they rebuffed their own advice. Boring colors are for boring people, but now real colors are hard to find.

        1. Mine were not as cool. Orange Chevy Citation, green Ford Explorer, silver Chevy Cavalier, red Ford Focus, bluish black Honda Civic, grey Kia Niro, and white Chevy Silverado. You have chosen much better cars.

    2. Same. So far I’ve had:
      Red 1991 Toyota Tercel 2-door sedan (manual)
      Bright blue 2005 Mazda3 hatchback (also manual)
      Dark blue 2016 Mazda3 hatchback (again, manual)
      Forest green 2003 Toyota RAV4 (you guessed it, manual)

        1. Just double-checked this morning; it already looks like a joke compared to GM’s. There’s a grand total of zero vehicle information kits. They better get off their rear ends and add them if they really cared about their enthusiasts.

  5. Oof, 21 feet, so close. I was going to say keep ym Chevy Bolt and get the EV Smart fortwo we had on the lot here, that thing was stupid fun to drive. Alas, that’d be over by about 8″.

  6. 21-foot selection: A 1998 Suzuki Wagon R-Wide XR Turbo (big 1-liter version with no less than 100hp) and a 1972 Mitsubishi Minica Skipper GT (rakish coupé with highly tuned two-stroke engine). I might be two inches over the limit, but I can swap the Wagon-R’s front bumper for the non-turbo unit and stay beneath the limit.

    1. Nice! I love those little 1970s Mitsubishis. I think I had a pic of one saved when I ran across it a few years ago. If not, it was similar.

      Kinda makes me wish I’d chosen a 1971 Honda Z600 instead of the Acty pickup! Didn’t think about it! Damn.

  7. I’m one of those 50 million. In my case the recall guts an underbody shield to fix a problem caused by quick lube incompetence. The issue is I’ve used that shield for its purpose monthly since new. Nah, I’ll take my chances.

    My next car will definitely be some fun color. Since it’s likely going to be a wheeled box it may as well be an interesting shade.

  8. I was noticing this last night while looking at car listings. Every model i looked at, black, grey, white, and (shudder) silver options abound in all permutations, but blue was universally 5-10% more for the same general conditions and green, if you could find it, was even more.

    21 foot challenge is easy. I’d buy a versa and a Mustang and cram the guts of the big one inside the body of the small one.

  9. The Microlino could be a good choice for Toy Hauler RVs as a the around town vehicle. Or in case like mine where I have few places I go under 2 miles and don’t want to have a bicycle or motorcycle.

    Though something like a Livewire is appealing.

  10. It’s funny, when you want to get the “cool” color, the dealer gets all excited about how special, unique, and valuable it is – as long as they have it on the lot. If they have to order or trade for it, they try to get you interested in one of the nice silver ones on the lot with great resale value and the “Sun ‘n Fun” Appearance Package 01. Then, when it’s time to trade your car in, the same dealer wants you to know how much pain and suffering your “cool” color is going to be as it sits unsold on their lot waiting for the buyer who wants a [Name of Racetrack + Color] car that doesn’t even have the Sun ‘n Fun Appearance Package 01. Did I say “funny?” – I meant enraging.

  11. 1970s Pontiac Colonade Grand Prix with floor shift and a big block, Honda Acty 4wd manual pickup.

    I didn’t do the math exactly, but I’m sure it’s close enough. If not, have Mercedes find me an appropriate smart car to take the Acty place. Haha

    I like big comfy coupes, and I cannot lie.

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