The BMW i3 made its official debut in the ‘States in 2014. Since then, BMW has sold around 30,000 units in the US, which isn’t an insignificant amount. Turns out, though, that every BMW i3 sold in America may need to be recalled, all 30,000 of them. More than that, though, BMW has issued a stop-sale on all new i3s until the issue of the recall can be remedied. So if you’re looking to buy a BMW i3, you might be in for some bad luck.
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According to NHTSA testing, there’s an issue with frontal crash protection for drivers of the “5th percentile female” in the driver’s seat, if they don’t wear their seatbelt. Basically, that means that, in the event of a frontal crash, females of about 5-feet tall and 110 pounds have a “marginally higher risk” of sustaining neck injuries than is allowed. Again, if they aren’t wearing their seatbelt. That latter bit is important because it’s illegal to not wear a seatbelt in 49 of the 50 States.
Some BMW i3 owners have talking about this recall issue on the BMW i3 Worldwide Group on Facebook, many of whom are BMW dealer employees who knew of the recall before the fans. As of right now, there’s no word as to how BMW is going to remedy this issue, as it seems quite difficult to fix. So the stop-sale could be on for a lot longer than anticipated and current BMW i3 owners could be out of a car for a while.
Though, there is a remedy to all of this — wear your seatbelt. Should BMW fix this? Of course and it’s working on it.
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.