19,130 BMW i3 REx Recalled In US Due To Fire Risk…Thanks To Its Gas Extender


BMW has recalled the REx (gas range extended) version of its popular i3 plug-in vehicle due to a fire risk.

And while one cringes at the thought of a plug-in being recalled for a “fire risk”, the heart of the problem according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), has nothing to do with the electrification of the powertrain.  Thank goodness. 

Via the NHSTA (campaign #17V088000):

“BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain 2014-2017 i3 REx hybrid electric vehicles. The fuel tank vent line may rub against the ribbed wire protection sleeve of the battery positive (B+) cable, creating a hole in the vent line and causing a fuel vapor leak.”

BMW i3 (94 Ah) REx


The issue applies to model year 2014-2017 BMW i3s, which total 19,130 vehicles in the US, and was first detected by a BMW dealer.

BMW notes that no actual fires have been reported due to this issue to their knowledge, and they will begin contacting owners to bring in their vehicles to inspect the fuel vent line and replace it (as necessary), for free on April 3rd.

To know if your i3 is included in the recall, check the build date; if it reads from March 2014 to December 2016, it does.

As an interesting sidenote to this recall, we now have a solid idea of the cumulative selling ratio between the all-electric BMW i3 and the range extended since the vehicles debut, as over that time a total of 24,741 i3s where sold, meaning the REx has outsold the BEV in just over a 3:1 ratio.

Below: The full NHTSA recall report, and discovery chain report

19,130 BMW i3 Rex Recall

19,130 BMW i3 Rex Recall

19,130 BMW i3 Rex Recall

Category: BMW

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17 responses to "19,130 BMW i3 REx Recalled In US Due To Fire Risk…Thanks To Its Gas Extender"
  1. ELR says:

    Revenge for WWII

    1. Dan says:

      Given that the average ELR driver is likely old enough to have fought in WW2, it is understandable that they hold old, anachronistic grudges against entire countries.

      1. ELR says:

        No, Dan my father landed on Omaha beach on D-Day not me. But I am old enough to remember when liberals like you had a sense of humor.

        1. Humorless Liberal says:

          Speaking as a survivor of several German bombing runs in the 1940s;
          I can say that many of the post-WW2 Germans I have met have a deep sense of embarrassment and anguish over the war, the holocaust and what it all did to its victims and to the German psyche.

          It’s time we put that piece of history to bed once and for all.

        2. Dan says:

          The liberals of your era probably didn’t have a sense of humor either – they were just dropping acid without your knowledge. In any case, I’m not a liberal. I just like electric cars and especially love my bimmer!

  2. Alaa says:

    Had there been any fires from that they would have blamed it on the battery! But as they state the fire risk could be from the fumes of the gasoline! This is showing that gasoline is more hazardous than batteries. It also has a much higher energy density and could cause a much bigger fire.

  3. WARREN says:

    Looks like it is just going to be a retainer clip update, and hose replacement if necessary. It is not even raw gas leakage, but a vent line chaffing the could leak a tiny amount of fuel vapor. If this is in the front of the car, there isn’t much up there hot or an ignition source since the car is rear engined. Which means you might smell the fumes before it even became a safety issue. They say engine compartment though, so if it is in the rear of the car, it is far away from the tiny front mounted 2.5 gallon gas tank. Looks pretty simple either way.

  4. ffbj says:

    I figured it was important enough to post it the minute I saw it, not going through channels. Hopefully there won’t be any bad effects, good that they found it.

  5. OntarioLeaf says:

    The only problem I had this far with my Gen II Volt was a check engine light due to a vacuum hose rubbing against something, causing it to leak. Took three dealer visits to fix.
    Damn ICE’s.

  6. Bill Howland says:

    Piece of plastic tape on the vent line should fix it.. Not a big deal.

  7. Bill Lakatos says:

    The big news for me is the number of BEV i3’s: 24741 – 19130 = 5611, giving only 5611/24741 = 23% BEV’s, not 1:3 as in the article. I hope insideevs can start using the 23% factor to list the i3 sales as separate Rex and BEV models; in comparison, your data indicates that Fiat has sold 18,966 500e BEV’s through 2016, which is 3.4 times as many as BMW, a pretty good accomplishment for a compliance car.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      To be fair, we said “over a 3:1 ratio”

      …saying 3.408:1 just didn’t feel right, I think people still come away with the notion that the BEV has far outsold the REx.

      Although to be fair, since the new 94 Ah/33 kWh upgrade (which moved range from 81 to 114 miles) the ratio has been closer to 60:40, so using the all-time ratio gives the wrong impression for current/ongoing sales.

      1. Dan says:

        The ReX is also a fundamentally different. East than a PHEV. You should also look up the number of ReX owners who get surprised when the range extender comes on for a maintenance cycle to flush the pipes due to long periods of inactivity. I regularly get the battery down to nearly zero and never have to white knuckle it because I know I have a fallback if I do miscalculate my range. I haven’t actually used the ReX since last summer. It’s a great solution to range anxiety without sacrificing electric usage and allows you to confidently push the limits of the battery without worrying about getting stranded. It’s a fairly noisy engine and it is not pleasant to drive regularly with it on and naturally nudges people towards electric usage.

        1. WARREN says:

          Supposedly the 2017 irex engine is quieter inside and tuned for more power.

          1. Dan says:

            More than the noise inside, it’s the outside noise that is really humiliating. People just stare at you like you’re a clown if you use it on city streets. The only times I’ve used it are when I’ve gotten stuck with an empty battery (once) or on portions of road trips on the highway when I’m really far from the grid and there aren’t chargers nearby.

  8. Nix says:

    To put this into perspective, up until the late 1960’s, all gas cars openly vented their fuel tanks to the world. This is likely no more or less at risk of fire than every single car build before closed fuel tank systems were made standard.

    With that said, it’s good that BMW is being proactive, and not waiting until the bean counters say enough people had died to make it worth spending the money to fix it.

  9. Huhu says:

    One doesn’t have to be a liberal to love electric vehicles or acknowledge the severe consequences of man-made climate change.

    Side note, never did Japan even close to fully recognize the atrocities the Japanese empire committed in World War II.