BMW is recalling all 2014-18 model-year BMW i3 electric vehicles sold in the U.S. because a crash test showed a higher risk of neck injury to smaller people in the driver’s seat who aren’t wearing seat belts.
The BMW i3 failed an NHTSA rigid-barrier crash test for women in the driver’s seat not wearing a seatbelt, weighing 100 to 110 pounds and standing about 5 feet tall. In the test, the crash dummy sustained injuries well below the required limits when driving between 20 and 25 mph.
The German luxury automaker has sold 29,383 BMW i3 cars (BEV and REx) in the U.S. and currently has 1,159 in dealer inventory.
A stop-sale order has been issued to dealers last week as well. All current owners of the affected i3 EVs will begin receiving recall notifications in December.
Here is the official statement from BMW:
BMW has a long, well-documented history of pursuing the highest levels of active and passive safety. In a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test of the BMW i3 – specifically the unbelted small adult rigid barrier test (NHTSA’s 5th percentile female), the driver seat occupant sustained loads marginally above the limit.
While BMW’s compliance testing showed results well below the required limits, more recent testing has shown inconsistent results. Consequently, BMW has issued a recall and is working with the agency to understand the differences in the test results. A remedy is forthcoming.
The BMW passive safety systems are optimized for safety belt use. BMW i3 owners should feel confident that their vehicle will perform well in a real world crash when the safety belt is used. BMW recommends that all vehicle occupants fasten their safety belts before driving, and keep them fastened for the duration of travel.