The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it is holding discussions with Ford Motor Company after the automaker halted F-150 Lightning production and deliveries earlier this week following a battery fire that erupted at the River Rouge Assembly Plant in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford has not immediately commented on the talks with NHTSA.
According to Ford, the battery of one F-150 Lightning caught fire on February 4 during a routine pre-delivery quality inspection in one of the plant’s holding lots, that fire quickly spread to a second truck nearby. As a result, the automaker halted production the next day–news of the production stoppage became public 10 days later. The stop-work order is expected to last until the end of next week at the earliest.
The battery issue is believed to be directly related to the components of the battery itself. F-150 Lightning battery components are produced by supplier SK On at a plant in Atlanta before being assembled at Ford’s Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
As we reported earlier in the week sources have relayed several stories of F-150 Lightnings laid up at dealerships awaiting battery module replacements. Trucks are displaying error code P0B24 which indicates unstable battery voltage, meaning a deviation in a particular module voltage has been detected when referenced against the rest of the modules in the battery pack as monitored by the Battery Energy Control Module.
Additionally, CNBC is reporting Ford has confirmed F-150 Lightnings in the field are experiencing a battery complication that can prevent the pickup truck from shifting into drive or causing it to gradually lose power while driving. This behavior absolutely squares with the information we have received from our sources–trucks will not shift into forward or reverse and display the service wrench light on the dash.
Our sources indicate the fix from Ford is a battery module replacement in the field. This involves removing the Lightning’s entire battery back, opening it, then removing and replacing the damaged module in question using a replacement kit the company has bundled in the parts catalog.
Ford is adamant the battery module failures and the fire on February 4 are unrelated, meaning Ford is now dealing with two relatively major battery issues simultaneously. The automaker sold 2,200 F-150 Lightnings in January, while more than 15,600 trucks found homes in 2022.