BMW hybrids recalled for contaminated battery, fire risk

Pleasanton, CA – Sept 30, 2020 – BMW (OTCMKTS: BMWYY) has recalled 4,509 hybrids in the U.S. that may have debris in the hybrid battery cell, which could lead to a fire. The recall includes:

  • 2021 BMW 330E hybrid sedans
  • 2020-2021 BMW 530E hybrid sedans
  • 2021 BMW 745LE hybrid sedans
  • 2020 BMW i8 hybrid sports cars
  • 2020-2021 BMW X3 hybrid crossovers
  • 2021 BMW X5 hybrid SUVs
  • 2020-2021 Mini Countryman crossovers

These cars are equipped with the following high voltage battery models:

  • 8658344-11/345-11
  • 8678566-10/567-10
  • 9452661-04

Recall summary  

The recall concerns these hybrid vehicles’ high voltage batteries, some of which may be contaminated with debris due to a manufacturing issue at Samsung, the battery producer. The debris could cause the batteries to short-circuit, which could lead to a fire. BMW is aware of a total of four incidents related to this issue, which all took place between early August and mid-September. No related accidents or injuries have been reported to the automaker or the National Highway Transit Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Risks

Equipment failures accounted for at least 20% of vehicle fires between 2009 and 2017, according to a report by the U.S. Fire Administration. Researchers have said that hybrid-electric vehicles are as likely to catch fire as gas-powered vehicles. 

If a vehicle catches fire, the driver should:

  1. Pull over as quickly as it is safe to do so, to a safe location off the road such as the breakdown lane or rest stop.
  2. Once stopped, TURN OFF the engine (using the key or a smart button, if available).
  3. Get everyone out of the car. Never return to a burning car for anything. 
  4. Move everyone at least 100 feet from the burning car and well away from traffic. Call 911.

Hybrid car fires require different firefighting techniques than gas-powered vehicle fires. Engaging with a burning hybrid without the right protection could lead to electric shock, exposure to toxic fumes, and lithium burns. If you experience a hybrid vehicle fire, make sure emergency services know that the vehicle is a hybrid so they can best protect you and themselves.

The repair

According to BMW, the remedy for this issue is still “under discussion.” Customers should look for a recall notification in the mail, which will be sent out sometime in October.

Until the remedy is available, BMW is telling drivers not to charge the battery of their plug-in vehicles, drive in manual mode, sport mode or use the shift paddles.

Is your vehicle part of this recall?

Over 4,500 vehicles are included in this BMW recall. Use MotorSafety’s vehicle identification number (VIN) look up tool to find out if your vehicle is affected by this or other recalls.

Rebecca RandBMW hybrids recalled for contaminated battery, fire risk