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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Ford to fix brake software in Fusion hybrids

While not labeling it a recall, Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that it will update the software of the regenerative braking system on some already-delivered 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrids and Mercury Milan Hybrids. An Associated Press report said a total of 17,600 Fusion and Milan hybrids will be updated.

Ford calls the update a “customer satisfaction program” and will notify owners by mail.

“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 in a statement. “While the vehicles maintain full braking capability, customers may initially perceive the condition as loss of brakes.”

Ford's announcement came on the same day that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a formal investigation of the 2010 Toyota Prius hybrid to determine whether 37,000 of those vehicles suffer momentary loss of braking capabilities. Toyota said its fix involves reprogramming the car's software.

Ford said its affected vehicles will have the software reprogrammed by dealers at no charge to the customer.

The Fusion Hybrid's regenerative braking system reclaims kinetic energy by having electric motors use braking force to regenerate electricity. Ford says the 2010 Fusion Hybrid returns to the battery 94 percent of energy that otherwise would be lost to heat and friction.

Ford sold 15,559 Fusion Hybrids last year.

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