When it rains I get a "powertrain error" and can't charge

Ford Focus Electric Forum

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New member
Jan 30, 2019
Hello everyone. I leased a 2016 Ford Focus electric and starting about a week ago (i'm about 1/2 way through my lease), if it rains I get an error message asking whether or not the car is "plugged in". I say no and then it finally lets me start the car. Once started a persistent wrench light comes on, which per the manual, means I have a "powertrain problem". Once that light is on I now can no longer charge the car...which is quite the problem for an electric car.

I've already taken to the dealer once and because it stopped raining and things "dried out", eventually it started taking a charge again and they put their hands up and had me come get it. Low and behold and rained again yesterday and I got the same problem. And again, now that it's dry today it works.

Has anyone seen this? The dealer has no clue and I'm afraid to leave it with them for weeks while they hem and haw about how they have no idea how to fix it.

Not only does the light come on when it rains, it also comes on when it's cold. Today it was zero degrees (which is rare for NJ..thanks Polar Vortex) and no issue on drive to work...but on way back (raised to 15 degrees) and the light came on again. Good times. I'll try taking it to the dealer and will post what codes they say.
You need to see what the specific fault code is that is setting off the wrench light. You can download the app Forscan lite and buy a cheap bluetooth obd dongle to access and read the code. It will give you some idea as to where to look for a problem. Can you re create this problem by hosing down the car with water? Or do you need to be driving in the rain for it to happen? And, btw, welcome to the "ford has no clue how to fix my electric car" club. Especially seeing that you are in NJ, they probably have not seen many, if any.
I finally got the dealer to take it seriously. The paperwork says the the SOBDM (on board computer?) was the problem and replaced it. It's been a couple of weeks since it was replaced and no issues currently! no more wrench light!
SOBDM = Secondary On Board Diagnostic Module. It's what ford calls the onboard charger. It is that big aluminum thing in the exhaust "tunnel" underneath the car and in front of the battery.