BMW i3 REx Burns After Catching Fire While Parked In Spain

MAR 19 2018 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 18

This is not the first BMW i3 REx to catch fire unexpectedly. Does it have anything to do with the U.S. recall?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a ton of information about this incident, aside from a plethora of pictures and videos shared by one of our avid readers. More, unfortunately, someone in Spain no longer has a working i3 REx. However, fortunately, it appears no one was hurt.BMW i3 fire

Ok … let’s look beyond the fortunes and misfortunes. The fire started in the middle of the night in Mollet del Vallès, Spain, very near Barcelona. It appears the car was simply parked and turned off when the situation began.

Over a year ago, a BMW i3 REx police car caught fire in Rome. Around a similar time, there was a recall for the REx in the U.S. Thankfully, it wasn’t related to the “EV-ness” of the car at all. Instead, it surrounded a fuel vapor leak on the ICE side of the equation, which caused a fire risk.

One would think that this problem was thoroughly addressed by now, but this incident happened outside of the U.S. We have no way of knowing for sure if there is any correlation here.

More Info: BMW I3 REX RECALLED

*All images and videos were furnished by Jesus Rodriguez Ortiz and Protecció Civil Mollet del Vallès and approved for use on InsideEVs.

Hat tip to Miquel Aymat Fortuny!

9 photos

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18 Comments on "BMW i3 REx Burns After Catching Fire While Parked In Spain"

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Pushmi-Pullyu

Car fires are more common than apartment fires.

I find it deplorable that there is so much media attention focused on the very rare fires in EVs. The irony is that If EV fires were as commonplace as gasmobile fires, they wouldn’t be rare enough to be considered news!

Reality check: If you’re seriously worried about your car catching fire, then definitely buy an EV. Your chances of a car fire will go down to something like 1/3 or 1/5 of what they are driving a gasmobile.

Clive

Carbecue

ffbj

Seen a lot of car fires. With so much flammable material, plastics from oil, filled with gas, it’s not surprising that they go up in flames with regularity.

Clive

Personally I’d never buy the REx model but here is another reason not. Glad nobody was hurt.

HVACman

Though the fuel system becomes the prime suspect, we don’t know it was related to the gas engine or fuel system.

It could also have been a thermal runaway event in the battery pack, though they are exceedingly rare.

I don’t find anything online that mentions any BMW EV ever involved in a catastrophic thermal runaway event, either spontaneously or due to an accident or debris damage. But they can happen. BMW will likely do some forensic analysis to determine cause.

alohart

The location of the fire damage is the location of the REx engine, not the battery pack which is under the mostly undamaged passenger compartment.

As an i3 BEV owner, the mystery to me is what ignited which I suspect is gasoline or gasoline fumes. When an i3 is off and parked, I’m not aware of anything electrical that is powered in the rear other than a pair of 12 V terminals connected to the 12 V battery in the front.

Maybe the car was charging at a curbside charging point. Or maybe the car was set to precondition (heat) its battery pack. Otherwise, unlike Tesla EV’s, the battery pack is not powering anything when an i3 is off and not charging or being preconditioned.

TwoVolts

I wouldn’t expect a thermal runaway event in the battery in colder weather. The gasoline engine and its location in the I3 would make me nervous. A gasoline fuel line leak would only need to find a static charge ignition source – which becomes more likely in the dry late winter air. Merely throwing a bag into the back of a plastic-lined cargo area could be enough to build up some static charge. Add a fuel line leak in an enclosed nearby area, and that could result in a fire.

Of course, this is all speculation at this point.

CDspeed

It could have been an act of vandalism…

Clive

That was my first thought.

Bloody ecoterrorist.

dan

The fireman is wearing a jacket that says “bombers” on the back. Suspicious I say.

Clive

Weird.

Maybe a bomb specialist.

Djoni

Probably firemen in catalan, where they are near Barcelona, not in spanish (bomberos)

Ma4t

Exactly this!

Vexar

I blame the nearby foam party getting crazy.

James

Exploding EVs everywhere, this why they have no future

TwoVolts

Nice troll attempt.

Nix

Just last fall BMW recalled 1 million ICE cars for fires very similar to this. Evidence points more towards a problem with the ICE side than the EV side. Yet this will be used by EV haters to somehow show that EV’s are dangerous, while ignoring the ICE side that has triggered the 1 million BMW ICE car recall:

” BMW of North America has issued two recalls covering about one million vehicles that contain parts implicated in car fires.

The investigation … found more than 40 cases in the last five years in which BMW owners said that parked cars that were not then subject to recalls for fire-related issues spontaneously burst into flames. Some of them, they said, had been turned off for hours or even days. ”

http://abcnews.go.com/US/bmw-recalls-million-vehicles-fire-risk/story?id=50922136

soyjmmc

I am the owner of this car.
I cant comment too much so far for legal reasons!
There is an inprecision in the text because the car was not parket. I was driving it and parked because of the fire. I was inside the car and driving when the fire started.
I am happy so far with the support received from BMW and firemen, police, … nobody was damaged so we are happy afterall!