Ford Will Update Software on Fusion Hybrid Brakes

A day after Toyota admitted to a software problem with its hybrid braking system, Ford Motor Co. says that it will update the brake-related software on the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid.

“We have received reports that some drivers have experienced a different brake feel when the hybrid’s unique regenerative brakes switch to conventional hydraulic braking,” Ford said. “While the vehicles maintain full braking capability, customers may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes.”

“To be clear, the Fusion and Milan Hybrids’ brake system maintains full conventional brakes and full ABS function even as the customer sees visual indicators and hears a chime. The software threshold to transition from regenerative brakes to conventional brakes can cause the system to transition to conventional brakes unnecessarily. The software upgrade will reduce unnecessary occurrences of the vehicle switching from regenerative braking to conventional hydraulic brakes.”

Ford Statement

Ford said there have been no injuries related to this condition. Customers with affected vehicles will receive a notice in the mail, asking them to bring in the cars to be reprogrammed at dealers at no charge. The company is calling the effort a “customer satisfaction program.”

The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid was recently named the North American Car of the Year at the 2010 Detroit auto show.

The move by Ford will place regenerative braking—and all hybrid systems—under greater public and government scrutiny, rather than solely focusing attention on Toyota. Safety fears raised by the highly publicized incidents of runaway acceleration in many Toyota models, not just the gas-electric Toyota Prius, have created a climate of heightened awareness and sensitivity.

The harshest criticism against Toyota centers on the company’s delayed and vague response to both the acceleration and braking problems. By contrast, Ford is stepping forward with a proactive and definitive response. Despite what it most likely a driving experience issue, rather than a life-threatening safety problem, Ford is taking the problem seriously, and offering an immediate adjustment.

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  • Toyota Driver

    Is Ford going to issue a recall and come clean like Toyota or are they trying to sweep this under the rug by just sending service notices?

  • Toyota Driver

    Wow, first toyota, now ford hybrid.

    The propaganda machines from the big oil must be working overtime…

  • Fusion Hybrid Lover

    I noticed a difference when I first began driving my 2010 Fusion Hybrid, but in no way did I feel a “loss of brakes.” It stops when and how I need it to, depending on traffic.

  • Nelson Lu

    I agreed with Fusion Hybrid Lover on the feel. I don’t see it as a safety issue, just a “handle this car differently than other cars” issue.

    However, Ford’s press did mention that the programming may also cause conventional brakes to engage too often, which I think I *have* sensed while driving the car. If the “fix” is handled properly, the fuel efficiency should increase slightly, and I’m all for that. I’ll wait for the notice to come in the mail, though.

  • DownUnder

    Talking about “brake feel”, don’t you notice that a brake feel of a car w/ ABS is different from one w/o?

  • Nelson Lu

    Sean, I can’t comment on that; I believe every car that I’ve driven (I started driving in 1990) had ABS.

  • domboy

    Well, good for Ford to not repeat Toyota’s mistakes… though it sounds like their system doesn’t really have a problem to start with…

  • DownUnder

    In normal situation (ABS doesn’t kick in), you don’t feel any difference but in case the road is slippery, you’ll.

  • Toyota Driver

    Sean, that’s a very good point because the first time i felt abs working in a van, i freaked out because i thought there was something wrong with the brakes. Then later on i realized the rapid pulses i felt are just abs in action.

  • Affordable Used Cars

    isn’t it that these cars should undergo some test first before it goes to the market?

  • DaveC

    I just had the upgrade and note that the battery charging indication (up arrow) does not turn green with slight brake pressure going downhill, as it used to. It is always blue, which I have taken to mean that the charge is coming from the engine or freewheeling.

  • maggiedon

    It’s a good thing that Ford pays attention and takes advantage of every opportunity to get good client ratings. I think Ford would get even better customer ratings if it focused on safety features and thus lower the auto insurance quotes for these cars.

  • ArchieOtto

    The concept of fusion breaking is quite interesting. A lot of energy is usually wasted by breaking, that energy becomes heat and propagates into the air becoming lost. The hybrid breaking system allows that energy to be transformed into electricity and be reused. The software that manages this process needs a virtualization security upgrade to become more efficient while still allowing the driver a normal breaking experience. If Ford will be able to accomplish this, it’s hybrid cars will have the success they deserve.

  • TwylaSharmaine

    It’s good news that Ford decides to make something about their brake system. Maybe it is something at their Exe files program or maybe the sensitivity was bad adjusted. Either way I want to feel secure when I’m driving. I hope that all this process will last a little.

  • irenica

    Thanks for information. I wonder if there is any connection, to China’s parts suplier industry?
    Irena from stretch mark removal

  • stevenhyde

    I work for an used cars Dayton Ohio dealership and I can truly say that I’m more confident about every of these cars than a new Ford software based car.Isn’t it that these cars should undergo some test first before it goes to the market?I have nothing against Ford,but how come they get acknowledgement for admitting having a problem and not get sued for it?

  • tina

    Thank you very much for sharing this information. I have Ford and I´m very satisfied with this car. Tina from best eye cream for wrinkles

  • Angel

    This is why I ´m fan of Toyota – hybrid – it´s best cas ever – everything is working. mesothelioma lawyers texas

  • l_barbara

    My husband also works for an used cars Manchester NH dealership and I agree with stevenhyde,I consider old cars more reliable but that doesn’t mean Ford is to blame.Ford transmissions are subject to the same sorts of failures as any other transmissions. Soft shifting as the result of slipping clutches and low fluid pressure is a fairly common problem with transmissions.

  • California Garden Blog

    I love my toyota hybrid! Started a california garden blog, hope eople check it out!

  • tapra1

    asking them to bring in the cars to be reprogrammed at dealers at no charge. The company is calling the effort a “customer satisfaction program.”Mobile News