BMW Freezes U.S. Sales of the i3 Electric Hatch and Issues Country-Wide Recall

BMW was probably never happier its first all-electric vehicle did not sell that well in the U.S. - and, indeed, the rest of the world as well - as it is now forced to recall every single one that got delivered.
BMW i3 1 photo
Photo: BMW
The i3 was introduced back in 2013 and was the second product in its "i" range of electrified models after the i8 hybrid sports car. Unlike its sibling, the i3 only used a battery pack to power its rear-mounted electric motor, though it did optionally come with a gasoline range-extender to function as an onboard generator.

Largely due to its polarizing design and limited range, the i3 was met with mixed reviews. Some people found its quirkiness appealing while others were put off by its bulldogish appearance. Either way, the i3 failed to be a sales success BMW wished for, failing to turn the Bavarian brand into an important EV player.

Even so, BMW built the 100,000th i3 last month, so while it may not rival Nissan LEAF's record, that's still plenty of cars zipping around all over the world. And with the U.S. being the small BMW's main market, about 30,000 of them can be found within the countries borders.

That means the BMW dealers are going to be pretty busy over the coming period as the company has just announced a total recall for the electric model after the rumors that started circulating during the weekend were confirmed.

It turns out that the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) carried out some more recent crash tests that gave "inconsistent results." The problem lies with the safety ratings for a small adult (female model) during the rigid barrier test while not wearing the seat belt.

Even though the seat belt is mandatory, the NHTSA still conducts tests where dummies are left unbuckled, and their results are taken into consideration. In BMW i3's case, the roughly 5-feet and 110-pounds dummy was deemed to have a risk above what the NHTSA considers to be safe.

As a result, sales for the BMW i3 have been halted, and all vehicles currently on the road are going to be recalled. BMW is working on a fix, but it hasn't said when it should be available nor what it would consist of. However, it's important to point out to all i3 owners that the safety hazard is only applicable to non-restrained passengers with the same physical profile as the dummy mentioned above.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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