BMW is currently on the verge of recalling every i3 sold in the US to date (that is, since the 2014 launch of the model), going on various data points and rumors.
To be more specific, BMW has apparently issued a Stop Sale order — meaning that no more BMW i3s will be delivered to buyers until the units have been modified to correct a flaw that’s been identified — relating to the problem that is reportedly driving the move towards a voluntary recall.
Documents that have been provided to BMW dealers in the US (and helpfully provided by members of the BMW i3 Worldwide Group on Facebook) reveal that the identified problem relates only to head-on collisions where the seatbelt isn’t on and the driver is a “5th percentile female” — which apparently means someone in the 5-foot, under 110 lb range.
This minority demographic apparently experiences specific neck injuries at a rate slightly higher than the acceptable limit when in a head-on collision without a seatbelt on, going on NHTSA testing.
So, while the issue is a real one, the reality is that it doesn’t affect many people — so will be a voluntary recall that can be safely ignored by most.
Inside EVs provides more: “I’ve reached out to BMW for clarification, but have not yet received a formal answer. Fortunately, we live in the age of information, and when something of significance happens, you can usually find somebody who’s willing to share (or leak) information on the subject. … Documents provided to BMW dealers indicate that current owners will be receiving letters in January which will advise them of the recall, and hopefully offering information on what corrections will be made to correct the issue.
“It’s unknown how BMW will correct this, but it is known how the current i3 owners can prevent having any issue: Just wear your seat belt. I have a little personal experience with crashes and i3s. I owned a 2014 i3 REx for over three years until a few months ago when a distracted driver ran a red light and t-boned my car on the passenger side at about 45 mph. The car was a total loss, and I walked away a little sore, but relatively unscathed.
“Because of that accident, I have a new 2018 i3 Sport on order. In fact, it’s on a ship in-transit to the US as I’m writing this, and it is expected to land in Port Newark, NJ in 10 days, on November 29th. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be sitting in the port for a while until BMW figures out what they are going to do to resolve the recall. The Stop Sale order restricts any new deliveries, so I may not be getting my i3s for the holidays, as I had hoped.”
An interesting bit of news, though unfortunate for those in the US waiting on the delivery of a new BMW i3. I have to wonder, though, who nowadays doesn’t wear their seatbelt when driving? Issuing a recall and stopping deliveries because of an issue that only arises when a seatbelt isn’t worn (and only then in a very limited portion of the population) seems a bit disportionate. Or am I not being reasonable here?
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