Overall, electric vehicles tend to be quite safe. Their battery-skateboard design adds to a chassis strength with a secondary area of reinforcement. But some crashes have the potential to go horribly wrong in if the battery casing is penetrated. It can release flammable chemicals that burn for hours, posing huge concerns for emergency workers. That’s why Ford has created an Emergency Response Guide for the 2021 Mustang Mach-E, shared on the Mach-E Forum site.
The biggest takeaway is the need to disconnect all of the high voltage systems of the Ford Mustang Mach-E in the event of a crash. This isn’t something that needs to be done for a minor bump, and the high voltage system should disable when the vehicle detects an impact. But there’s the chance the systems won’t deactivate or they could reactivate, and Ford has listed the steps to disconnect all voltage systems in the Mach-E during a severe crash. It’s also to ensure the system won’t turn back on later on.
Ford recommends first responders use extreme caution when approaching a highly damaged Mustang Mach-E, and they shouldn’t have any jewelry or metal on their body or clothing. In a crash, first responders should first ensure the vehicle is in park and ignition is off, then open the hood. On the driver’s side of the vehicle, there is a storage panel that can be removed to access a service disconnect. Then, the secondary 12 volt battery should be disconnected from the vehicle. The guide also says it can take up to five minutes for the systems to shut down, so first responder should let the vehicle sit after disconnecting it.
The guide also shows first responders how to respond to a possible breach in a Ford Mustang Mach-E battery casing. It mentions a faint hissing or bubbling sound will be audible if chemicals are coming into contact with the air when leaking out. These are the combustable chemicals that cause the never ending fires that plague some EVs. The battery should be sprayed down with water, even if it’s only ruptured and not on fire. Finally, the vehicle needs to be towed on a flatbed, as trying to roll the back wheels could reactivate regenerative braking.
The forum thread also showed many owners sending this guide to their local fire department, which could be helpful in the case of a nearby crash. As more and more electric vehicles come to market, first responders need to know how to react, and it’s great to see Ford recognizing that with the Mustang Mach-E.