Potential Battery Fires: BMW recalls i4 and iX Electric Vehicles

BMW issued a recall notification for a “small number” of 2022 i4 sedans and iX SUVs due to the danger of battery fires.

According to the recall, the high voltage battery “may have internal damage,” resulting in an electrical short circuit.

The recall only covers 83 vehicles sold in the US, but BMW advises owners not to drive them, to park them outdoors or away from other vehicles and structures that could capture on fire, and not charge them. BMW dealers will substitute the battery free of charge.

The recall was administered after BMW became aware of “a non-US field incident concerning a 2022 BMW i4 eDrive40” last April. An engineering analysis found debris seeping into the battery cell, specifically cathode pieces. Two more “incidents” were noted in June, one in the US concerning a 2022 iX xDrive50 and the other country veneer involving a 2022 iX M60. Both were found to have junk in the battery cell, which Samsung SDI supplies.

BMW says it has not accepted any reports of accidents or injuries due to the battery defect. “Fortunately, the recall affects a minimal number of vehicles,” Jay Hanson, a spokesperson for BMW, said in an email to The Verge. “And our Customer Relations team has proactively reached out to all affected vehicle owners to provide information and assistance.”

The BMW i4 and iX are the new EVs to get a recall. In addition, Ford issued a recall before this summer for 49,000 Mustang Mach-E SUVs over problems that a safety defect may cause the vehicle to be immobile. Likewise, the Toyota bZ4X was recalled when it was found that loose hub bolts could cause the revolutions to become detached while driving. Other EVs have also been recognized over software bugs and other minor matters.

Battery fires, while rare, remain a profound concern for EV makers. More data is required, but researchers have decided that most EVs are at low risk for battery fires. Though when fires occur, EVs with lithium-ion batteries burn hotter and faster and need more water to extinguish a fact that has directed some towns to retrain their emergency responders for such incidents.

The most severe incident involved the Chevy Bolt, which was recalled after GM conveyed at most minuscule 19 battery fires due to deficient cells from the supplier LG. The automaker was compelled to temporarily shut down production after a software fix failed to contain many more fires. Chevy resumed production this year after installing new battery packs.

The BMW iNext was first reported by BMW in March 2016 as the “new spearhead of innovation and technology,” with a launch goal early in the next decade.

The BMW Vision iNext was revealed at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. Referred to as “Project i 2.0”, the Vision iNext was developed to address critical questions for the future of motoring, focusing on connectivity, electrification, and autonomy. It was an SUV similar in size to the BMW X5, although it was substantially larger inside due to its EV layout, with front/rear motors having underfloor batteries.

BMW assured that it would use BMW’s fifth-generation electric powertrain, 0100 km/h in 4.0 seconds and a range of 612 km. However, the level of autonomy the production version would offer depends on regulations and infrastructure.

The BMW iX is the first automobile to feature the iDrive 8, which combines a 12.3-inch digital instrument set with a 14.9-inch infotainment touchscreen to form a single curved unit. The system has an upgraded version of BMW’s voice assistant and keeps the iDrive controller. It is the first spell the technology delivered in a production BMW, and it comes standard with a hexagonal steering wheel.

Other standard equipment are the 18-speaker Harman Kardon sound system and BMW safety systems such as parking assistant and driving assistant professional. Available choices include a panoramic sunroof and sun-protection glass, soft-close doors, heated and ventilated seats, parking assistant, an interior camera, a Bowers & Wilkins stereo, and M Sport styling.

It is the first extravagance car to feature built-in 5G technology that allows its over-the-air functionality. In addition, the iX has 20 times the onboard computing power of earlier BMW models, allowing it to process the amount of data from cameras and sensors. As a result, it will enable Level 2+ semi-autonomous driving capability and an extensive range of driver-assistance and collision-avoidance technology. The advanced driver assistance system in the iX can assist drivers in staying in their lane, maintaining speed, and even making lane changes safely.

BMW implied Level 3 autonomous driving when it revealed the iNext concept in 2018. However, the official release did not mention iX’s self-driving capabilities. Product-development head of BMW’s luxury cars, Frank van Meel, expressed: “I can’t give a promise of a date. We are preparing, collecting data, and improving the iX by software over the air. We will carry an evolutionary path without jumping forward and pulling back.” Frank Weber, chief of R&D at BMW, confirmed in November 2021 that the iX would be delivered with Level 3 capabilities as an alternative as the iX’s hardware and software are Level 3 systems.

The BMW iX is a battery-electric mid-size luxury crossover SUV manufactured and sold by the German automobile manufacturer BMW. It was unveiled in concept form anointed Vision iNext at the 2018 Paris Motor Show and then fully production-ready in November 2020. The iX is BMW’s first purpose-built electric vehicle since the i3 in 2013 and the fourth BMW i sub-brand model.

The iX nameplate was selected to signify the model’s position at the top of the electric i line-up and its function in showcasing technology. It employs the new fifth-generation rendition of BMW’s electric drive system and offers high levels of autonomous and connected technology.