Ford Mach E has a contactor problem?

It appears that Ford is having some EV growing pains. A contactor is a form of relay that is computer controlled. They’re in the charging system at minimum, to allow it to be connected and disconnected to the high voltage input.

Much more info on contactors (probably more than you really want to know :wink: ) can be found in this video: Technology Connections geeks out about contactors

@Leo, have you heard of the issue and are you concerned it might affect your early model?

I don’t have experience with the Mach-E, but contactors are pretty fascinating. I’ve fallen down shortform video rabbit holes of electricians engaging grid-sized contactors. The arcing is incredible sometimes!

Last month flawed Wi-Fi chips that let hackers take over the onboard computer and control everything this side of the CANBUS - at the time of reporting, there was no CANBUS firewall exploit to let them get any further.

Ford advised owners to turn off Wi-Fi in the MachE, now this…

Doesn’t Leo have one of these?

1 Like

Yea I think that’s why OP tagged him


Yes I do. Ford did the software “fix” for the contractor issue on my car. I’m hoping they’ll do a better fix in response to this. Having said that I’ve had ZERO probems with my Mach-E. Of course, I rarely use high speed charging stations.

The lease runs out in February and I’m trying to decide whether to keep the car or get a different model, so I’m watching this with interest. I’ve got my eye on the BMW i5 right now. Sooner or later I’ll be buying my last car so it’s a big decision.

1 Like

It will take a while until EVs mature. We are still in growing pains phase.

I’m not sure that’s a fair assessment, I would chalk this particular issue up to a manufacturer taking shortcuts that resulted in a design flaw - this is a problem endemic to auto manufacturers regardless of the powertrain. Ford has just over 2 million recalled vehicles in 2023 alone.

Electric motors are a tried-and-true technology that is arguably more mature than the combustion engine, and objectively much simpler. I suppose if there is a “growing pain” aspect to EVs, it would be energy storage - these chemical batteries we’re currently saddled with are a stopgap. Which isn’t all that painful in reality.

Yeah I was not referring to the actual electric motor. That is indeed a mature technology. But the overall car with its various sensors and it’s various subsystems is not mature yet. We see issues with manufacturers quite often.

1 Like

So then did you mean the Mach-e specifically? Rather than EVs in general? I’d agree with you there. Year one of any new platform can be a gamble.

I was referring to Mach-E which is the topic of this discussion but I also had in mind other issues other EVs have. Teslas are in the news often because of software bugs they have.
Most of the time it is the software that is the issue.

I expected better from Ford. That’s one of the reason I replaced the Model X with the Mach-E. I wanted to buy a car from a long-time metal bender.

1 Like

I was surprised you and Steve didn’t talk about the Wi-Fi problem either.

I think that the core competency of car manufacturers is not software. They are used to set and forget pieces of software that was not easily accessible from the outside world and was not very visible as well so any defects were not easily exposed in traditional cars. Now they have to adjust to the reality of a connected car with all the pros and cons.
People will be able to dig and figure out how things work, and also how they can make things break, this will be fed into the tech news cycle which is a lot faster than the car news cycle and interesting things will happen.

1 Like

Cars should be as dumb as possible, at least where it comes to contact with the outside world.

Software is always buggy and cars are critical systems that are expected to work reliably for decades. I don’t see Ford offering even security patches for the Mach-E in 10 or 15 years time…

It is the same with a lot of IoT devices, the device itself should last at least a decade, if not more - speakers, fridges, washing machines, TVs, cars etc. yet the “smart” part of the device is lucky to get a couple of years of support.

My TV was a Sony Bravia with Android TV. I bought it in 2016, by late 2017, there were no more version upgrades, but more importantly, there were no patches for 3 well known zero days in Android… Since then, the TV has been in daily use as a screen for a couple of FireTVs and now an Apple TV. It isn’t allowed on the network, because it is just too dangerous.

When we bought our dishwasher, we looked at several, but the high-end ones mainly had mid-range features with added IoT nonsense. In the end, we went with a high-end Miele with no IoT nonsense and an expectancy that it will still be working in 10 years time.

I want the same from my car. It should be as “dumb” as possible, the “smarts” should come from a smartphone or other device that gets regularly updated and regularly replaced and just uses the cars systems as a display.

1 Like

Yeah totally agree with that and we are moving entirely towards the opposite direction. This is going to be a carnage (hopefully not literally, but a commercial one).
I do not think people will like paying thousands of dollars and then not being allowed to use features of their car because of a subscription plan.
That would only work if they purchased the car at a discount.

1 Like

Van Moof has gone into recievership and there was an article in c’t last month on how you can still access “most” of the features on the bike you paid over 4K€ for, even after they turn off their servers…

I’m glad that my ebike just uses Bluetooth as an option (I can use my smartphone as a headunit display, instead of the small LCD unit), but the ebike is still 100% autonomous without a smartphone connection.

It does useful things, like record effort and speed and combines that with Apple Health and the Apple Watch to provide a full workout log, but that is a nice-to-have. With the Van Moof, things like turning the bike on or changing settings etc. would no longer be available!

1 Like

Yeah, this will backfire eventually

1 Like