Problem when driving downhill: Electric Mustangs run down in rows

of Tobias Stahl am 18.07.2021

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Recuperation – the recovery of energy when braking – is probably one of the most practical functions in most electric cars. In certain cases, however, it can also lead to uncomfortable stopovers: In a tranquil Norwegian village, six Ford Mustang Mach-E’s got stuck without warning within 14 days after long downhill journeys.

The tranquil town of Geiranger in north-west Norway does not even have 300 inhabitants – in the summer months, however, the town experiences a real tourist boom every year. This is not least due to the fact that one of the most popular tourist routes in the country leads from the surrounding mountains directly to Geiranger. In the country that currently has the largest share of electric cars in the world, it is precisely this road that has resulted in half a dozen Ford Mustang Mach-E simply breaking down. The fault was the Mach-E’s too high recuperation.

Readers of the Norwegian news portal Motor have sent the editorial team pictures showing some electric Mustangs with blocked wheels and the engine switched off at the side of the road. A driver’s Ford Mustang Mach-E gave up the ghost right in front of his targeted hotel, so that he had to carry his luggage on foot the last few hundred meters into the hotel while his Stromer was towed away. According to Motor, similar experiences were reported in a group for Mustang Mach-E owners on Facebook.

Karl Martin Rønneberg, a car salesman from the nearby village of Eidsdal, confirms the incidents. Rønneberg also works on behalf of the Norwegian car club NAF. He had to tow six electric cars in the area within 14 days, all of which were the Ford Mustang Mach-E, all of which had given up on the way down to Geiranger.

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According to Motor, the problem lies in the recuperation of the Mach-E and a related software error. The recuperation function is used when braking or when driving downhill to return the energy that would otherwise simply be ‘wasted’ with the brakes to the battery of a Stromer and to increase its range. This is also the case with the long descent to Geiranger. However, a software error during long downhill drives with maximum recuperation leads to too much energy being transferred to the battery, which then becomes too hot. The entire vehicle then switches itself off for safety reasons.

The good news: The repair consists of a software update that only takes 30 to 45 minutes, the US automaker explains to Motor. “In Norway we became aware of a very small number of Mustang Mach-E’s that had the electric motor stalled on steep descents,” explains Anne Sønsteby of Ford Norway.

“A software update is available for customers at all of our resellers that corrects this problem.” So far, the update is unfortunately not available ‘over the air’, so it has to be carried out in a workshop. However, the error should then be fixed with the next major over-the-air update for the Mach-E. The update is scheduled for September or October this year.

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