BMW recalls small number of i4 and iX electric vehicles over concerns of battery fires
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued an official recall notice for a small batch of BMW 2022 i4 sedans and iX SUVs citing possible risk of battery fires. According to the NHTSA's notice, BMW of North America is "recalling certain 2022-2023 iX xDrive50, iX M60, 2022 i4 eDrive40, and i4 M50 vehicles. The high voltage battery may have internal damage, resulting in an electrical short-circuit."
All-in-all, about 83 vehicles sold in the US are affected by the battery issue. BMW is advising customers of these vehicles not to charge and drive them. The company is also recommending that customers park these affected vehicles away from other vehicles and structures that can catch fire.
In an email to The Verge, a BMW spokesperson said,
Fortunately, the recall affects a very small number of vehicles. And our Customer Relations team has already proactively reached out to all of the owners of affected vehicles to provide information and assistance.”
Apparently, BMW became aware of a few isolated incidents in which engineering analysis discovered pieces of cathode debris seeping into the battery cell. The first such incident was reported from outside the US involving a BMW i4 eDrive40 in April this year followed by two other such incidents in June — one an US iX xDrive 50 and another a non-US iX M60. Batteries for these electric vehicles (EVs) are supplied by Samsung SDI.
In a recent related incident in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a BMW 3 Series i3 EV caught fire during a test drive. Luckily, the occupants had enough time to get out of the vehicle, presumed to have caught fire due to a defective electric motor.
Though most EVs are at relatively low risk for battery fires, it is still a pertinent concern among EV owners. Ford, Toyota, Lucid Motors, and Hummer have all had to issue recalls for some of their models owing to either software or other safety concerns.
If you own an affected BMW vehicle, your dealer will offer to replace the battery free of charge. The company will also be mailing notification letters by September 19, 2022 and will contact individual owners by phone as well. Affected owners can also reach BMW customer service at 1-800-525-7417 or the NHTSA hotline at 1-888-327-4236.