Ford Motor Company (Ford) is taking action to address a safety concern with specific 2020-2022 Lincoln Aviator and 2020-2022 Ford Explorer vehicles that are equipped with 3.0L PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) engines. These vehicles may have a manufacturing defect in one or more of the high voltage battery cells, which could lead to an internal short circuit and a potential battery fire.
Discovery of the Issue
Ford became aware of this issue in June 2023 when they received a report regarding thermal venting problems with the PHEV battery used in these vehicles. The report highlighted a 2021 model year Transit Custom in France experiencing PHEV battery thermal venting. Subsequent analysis, conducted by the battery cell supplier, revealed an internal short circuit in the vehicle’s high voltage battery pack, partly due to the presence of a folded anode tab, which occurred during the cell manufacturing process.
The supplier’s investigation indicated that another, as yet unidentified, factor is necessary for the folded anode tab condition to lead to battery thermal venting. The supplier is actively conducting component-level testing to pinpoint this second factor. While this factor remains unknown, the Ford Critical Concern Review Group (CCRG) has been working to identify the group of vehicles that may potentially have the cell folded anode tab condition.
Ford was aware of three more instances of cells with folded anode tabs in the field. These incidents involved a 2020 model year Aviator in the United States, resulting in PHEV battery thermal venting, another 2020 model year Aviator in the United States resulting in a Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) but no battery thermal venting, and a 2020 model year Aviator in Canada, also resulting in an MIL but no battery thermal venting.
To address this issue, Ford has reviewed the cell supplier’s manufacturing process and made improvements during cell production to reduce the occurrence of the folded anode tab condition. The timing of these process enhancements has been used by the CCRG to determine the affected population of vehicles.
Owners of the affected vehicles will be notified and requested to visit their authorized Ford dealers for a Battery Energy Control Module (BECM) diagnostic test. If the test identifies a battery problem, the high voltage battery pack will be replaced at no cost to the owner. To check if your vehicle is part of this recall, refer to Ford’s recall number 23S53 and the NHTSA campaign number 23V-626.