You may have heard that Australian auto journalist Peter Barnwell inadvertently burned a Ford Everest SUV to the ground last week. Ford is now saying their investigation has concluded; somebody put the battery in wrong.

The official statement from Ford Australia:

“The issue arose to due to the incorrect installation of a replacement battery post production and our investigations to date have not found any other vehicles to have been subject to the same issue. The new design of the battery fuse link for Everest and higher spec Ranger models means it is not common with the prior model Ranger and Everest. All of the data collected during the exhaustive investigation to date indicates this is a situation which is not systemic to Everest or Ranger.”

Seems plausible enough. A car battery can catch fire if the positive and negative terminals get directly connected by something with decent electrical conductivity, like a piece of metal. This would cause it to get hot in a hurry. Theoretically crappy battery manufacturing or internal damage to the battery could produce the same result.

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My guess; somebody let the Ford Australia press-loaner Everest battery die early on in its life and somebody else did a bad job putting in a new one. That or there’s a plot to kill Peter Barnwell. Can’t speculate on the plausibility of that, I’ve never met the guy.

The short story is Ford is officially declaring “no good reason for you not to buy a Ranger or Everest.” At least, no reason to fear fiery death. They’re definitely going to take a hit on Australian sales though, Barnwell’s pictures were as brutal as his puns.

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Image via Ford


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.