Ford of Europe is working to fix a problem with its Kuga plug-in related to venting heat from the batteries, Jay Ward, another company spokesman, said Tuesday. There have been seven vehicle fires in Europe, triggering the recall of 20,500 Kuga models sold there, spotlighting an issue that could take months to resolve, Ward said.
Plug-in hybrids are a key part of Ford’s strategy to spend $11.5 billion to electrify its lineup as it transitions to battery-powered vehicles. The automaker is scheduled begin building its electric Mustang Mach-E in Mexico later this year.
Ford is allowing European customers to continue driving their plug-in Kugas but has instructed them not to plug their cars into a charger, Ward said. The vehicles can operate in conventional hybrid mode without charging. The company extended vehicle warranties and issued 500-euro gasoline cards to reimburse customers for a loss in fuel economy, Ward said.
The recall could cause Ford to fall short of European emission regulations limiting carbon-dioxide output from its vehicles, Matthias Schmidt, an automotive analyst and publisher of the European Electric Car Report, wrote in a tweet Tuesday.
“We are committed to meeting our C02 obligations this year and in future years, as we always have,” Ward said.