BMW has issued a recall notice for a “small number” of its 2022 i4 sedans and iX SUV due to the risk of battery fires. According to the recall process, the high voltage battery may have “internal damage”, which may lead to a short circuit.
The recall covers only 83 vehicles sold in the US, but BMW advises owners not to drive them, park them outside or away from other vehicles and structures that could catch fire, and not charge them. BMW dealers will replace the battery for free.
The recall was issued after BMW became aware of a “non-US field accident involving the BMW i4 eDrive40 2022” last April. An engineering analysis found that debris, especially pieces of the cathode, were seeping into the battery cell. Two more “incidents” were reported in June, one in the US involving the 2022 iX xDrive50 and one outside the country involving the 2022 iX M60. Both were found to contain debris in the battery cell, which is provided by Samsung SDI.
BMW says it has not received any reports of accidents or injuries as a result of a defective battery. Jay Hanson, a BMW spokesman, said in an email to the edge. “Our customer relations team has already proactively reached out to all owners of affected vehicles to provide information and assistance.”
The BMW i4 and iX are the latest electric cars to be recalled. Ford earlier this summer issued a recall of 49,000 Mustang Mach-E SUVs over concerns that a safety defect could render the vehicle immobile. The Toyota bZ4X was recalled when it was discovered that loose axle bolts could cause the wheels to separate while driving. Other electric vehicles have also been recalled due to various software bugs and other minor issues.
Battery fires, although rare, remain a major concern for electric vehicle makers. More data is needed, but researchers have determined that the vast majority of electric vehicles are at low risk of battery fires. Although fires do occur, electric vehicles equipped with lithium-ion batteries burn faster and faster and require more water to extinguish – a fact that has led some cities to retrain emergency responders when such incidents occur.
The most serious incident involved a Chevy Bolt, which was recalled after General Motors reported at least 19 battery fires caused by defective cells from supplier LG. The automaker was forced to temporarily halt production after a software overhaul failed to prevent several fires. Chevy resumed production earlier this year after installing new battery packs.