BMW To Issue Stop Sale and Voluntary Recall For All US i3s

4 MO BY TOM 94

While it hasn’t yet been formally announced, it appears that BMW is on the verge of recalling every i3 that has been sold in the US since the 2014 launch (roughly 30,000 units). In addition, a Stop Sale order has been made, meaning no more i3s will be delivered to customers until the cars have been modified to correct a problem that was recently discovered.

I’ve reached out to BMW for clarification, but have not yet received a formal answer. Fortunately, we live in the age of information, and when something of significance happens, you can usually find somebody who’s willing to share (or leak) information on the subject. In this case, we credit members of the BMW i3 Worldwide Group on Facebook for providing the information. Group members starting posting bits of information on this issue late Thursday night. There are quite a few BMW dealership employees in the group, and they often have access to information before the public does. Occasionally that leads to group members getting inside information before it is officially released.

There were also group members that were about to take delivery of a new i3 over this weekend, so they had to be told by their dealer that the Stop Sale has been issued, and that their delivery would be delayed indefinitely.  Documents provided to BMW dealers indicate that current owners will be receiving letters in January which will advise them of the recall, and hopefully offering information on what corrections will be made to correct the issue.

This dealer-provided Q&A was prepared to help dealers explain the issue with their customers. Credit: Amanda Meeker from the BMW i3 Worldwide group on Facebook

Apparently, the problem is restricted to situations when the driver is a “5th percentile female”, is not wearing their seat belt, and has a head-on collision, according to NHTSA. The 5th percentile female basically means the driver is female, about 5’0″, and weighs 110 lbs or less. So clearly, this would only affect a small percentage of potential i3 drivers.  Under NHTSA testing, the unbelted 5th percentile female suffered certain neck injuries that were slightly higher than the acceptable limit when involved in certain types of head-on collisions. This issue only affects the driver, not any of the passengers.

It’s unknown how BMW will correct this, but it is known how the current i3 owners can prevent having any issue: Just wear your seat belt. I have a little personal experience with crashes and i3s. I owned a 2014 i3 REx for over three years until a few months ago when a distracted driver ran a red light and t-boned my car on the passenger side at about 45 mph. The car was a total loss, and I walked away a little sore, but relatively unscathed.

My wife driving my 2014 BMW i3 REx. She’s close to the size of the “5th percentile female” that the recall is based on. However, since she’s wearing her seat belt, the condition for concern isn’t present.

Because of that accident, I have a new 2018 i3 Sport on order. In fact, it’s on a ship in-transit to the US as I’m writing this, and it is expected to land in Port Newark, NJ in 10 days, on November 29th. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s going to be sitting in the port for a while until BMW figures out what they are going to do to resolve the recall. The Stop Sale order restricts any new deliveries, so I may not be getting my i3s for the holidays, as I had hoped.

The wearing of seat belts is required in every state in the US, with the exception of New Hampshire. In that state, only drivers and passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear a seat belt. Personally, I find it hard to understand why anyone wouldn’t use their seat belt. It’s such a simple act to buckle up, they aren’t uncomfortable to wear, and it literally can save your life. I was actually a little surprised to find out that US crash testing still requires vehicles to be tested with the occupants both buckled up, and not. Are there that many people that still refuse to buckle up? This entire problem isn’t an issue if the driver simply wears their seat belt. Please buckle up folks, regardless of what car you’re driving.

Credit: Amanda Meeker

Credit: Amanda Meeker

I’ll be reaching out to BMW later this week to get more details on this situation, and once I have more information, I’ll update this post.

*EDIT 11/20/17:  Official statement from BMW:

BMW has a long, well-documented history of pursuing the highest levels of active and passive safety. In a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test of the BMW i3 – specifically the unbelted small adult rigid barrier test (NHTSA’s 5th percentile female), the driver seat occupant sustained loads marginally above the limit.

While BMW’s compliance testing showed results well below the required limits, more recent testing has shown inconsistent results.  Consequently, BMW has issued a recall and is working with the agency to understand the differences in the test results.  A remedy is forthcoming.

The BMW passive safety systems are optimized for safety belt use.  BMW i3 owners should feel confident that their vehicle will perform well in a real world crash when the safety belt is used. BMW recommends that all vehicle occupants fasten their safety belts before driving, and keep them fastened for the duration of travel.

Customers with questions may contact BMW Customer Relations at 1-800-525-7417, or email

Category: BMW

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94 responses to "BMW To Issue Stop Sale and Voluntary Recall For All US i3s"
  1. SparkEV says:

    “Personally, I find it hard to understand why anyone wouldn’t use their seat belt”


    1. Dan says:

      People forget that the human body is basically a water balloon held in place around a skeleton. Even with seatbelts and airbags, a head on collision between 2 cars each going 35mph will result in death most of the time. The crash tests are done at 35mph against a simple stationary barrier.

      1. L'amata says:

        Agreed ! AND., Guaranteed Death if you’re in one of these Death Traps! “FOR SURE ” You Stand No Chance of Survival in this Card Board Box. Kiss You ASSetts Goodbye !…

        1. Dan says:

          Umm, I’ll take the carbon fiber i3 any day. It has a remarkably safe safety cage that is far stronger than steel or aluminum.

      2. AndY1 says:

        Dan, two cars colliding head on each at 35mph is the same as if one car would hit a stationary object at 35mph:

        1. says:

          The key here is “identical”…but yes, Dan is fairly ignorant, he has proven that many times lately.

          1. L'amata says:

            I just can’t stand BMW…Overpriced, Misleading & Junk Product. I would never Buy another one ever again..I’m entitled to my opinion like you are! Btw…I’ll take High Strenght Steel Over High Strenght Card Board Any Day of the week. Cheeeeeers!

            1. alohart says:

              If high-strength steel were the strongest, lightest vehicle construction material, those building race cars would choose it over CFRP, but it isn’t and they don’t.

              Don’t let your likely justifiable unhappiness with BMW lead to your posting ignorant comments.

              1. L'amata says:

                It’s not Constructed like a Race Car ,They use Materials that are “Race Car Like” , but these you call “Same Materials” Are NOT the same “Grade”, Specs, or Tolerances that are used on Real Race Cars . They are the Same But Different . They’re not Engineered or Applied the same manner as the Materials that would be found in a Race car Application ..Just Like People We all Look alike ., But we are All Different..If this doesn’t sink into your Know it all Head .., I GIVE UP !..

              2. James says:

                Not sure of any race cars presently built of CFRP.

                Carbon fiber, yes. CFRP is just what it sounds like. Its “carbon fiber reinforced plastic”. There is one sheet of carbon fiber between two sheets of plastic. Just to emphasize this makes BMW’s TV spot I saw which stated i3 was, “made of carbon fiber” a lie more than a stretch of the truth.

                CFRP is a clever way of lightweighting parts and BMW currently replaces parts in several models with the material.

                i3 is mostly aluminum with body parts made of plastic (polymer).

                1. Davek says:

                  [Facepalm] No James, what people generally refer to as “carbon fibre” is a composite material consisting of carbon fibres embedded in a polymer matrix. The technical term for this is CFRP. What you described, with the carbon fibre layers sandwiched between layers of plastic, is not actually, technically speaking, a thing. The i3 is made out of the same stuff that Formula One cars, the tacky trim on higher priced sports cars and your golf club shafts are made out of. Assuming you have carbon clubs.

                  Also, before anyone mentions it, “graphite” is exactly the same thing.

                  Also anyone who gets hurt while not wearing a seatbelt had it coming. Everyone should stop wasting their time designing and testing cars for idiots who refuse to help themselves.

                  1. James says:

                    @ Davek and L’amata:

                    No need to facepalm.

                    Respectfully, you are incorrect, sir.

                    The composite matrix you speak of is well known and used in high end sports cars, race cars and the consumer products you list, aeropsace industry and much more. multiple sheets are cross laminated with resins and baked in an autoclave.

                    CFRP is a budget solution to lightweighting. BMW used new ways to laminate carbon fiber with polymer ( plastic ) and spot heat it and press into structures of the safety cage. No baking ( autoclave ) required. It’s a much less expensive solution which is not as strong, nor expensive as those composite structures you cite as used in Formula 1 race cars, expensive sports cars or giant airliners.

                    The lion’s share of the car is aluminum, and the body panels are plastic molded pieces.

                    The sheets of carbon cloth are manufactured in my state of Washington, USA in a town named Moses Lake. BMW is using the CFRP panels in many of it’s gas cars too, to reduce weight.

                    BMW invited the SAE and IIHS from the USA to Germany to inspect their new manufacturing processes and videos are available to watch on YouTube, for example.

                    ————Food For Thought Dept.————

                    These innovative techniques did not make the i3 stronger than it’s steel and aluminum counterparts in the auto industry. Crash tests prove this out, both NCAP and IIHS. It did make i3 lighter, which is good in that it needs less battery pack to go the same distance where a heavier car needs more pack to travel the same trip.

                    This does not benefit the consumer, but the manufacturer. It took BMW years and a lot of work to figure out a way to put less battery pack in a car. Yet they charge you more for a car that goes the same distance or less than it’s rivals that cost much less.

                    So BMW does not translate the savings of placing a smaller pack in it’s i3 to you, the consumer. Instead, it charges luxury car price for a car with LEAF capabilities.

                    To me, this is simple economics, and BMW’s way to try to make a profit off of EVs while not mass producing them. In other words, if BMW , GM or VW Group made 100,000s of EVs per year, they could sell the cars at affordable prices due to economies of scale – Just like they do their ICE products, of which BMW has many.

                    Instead, they invented a manufacturing process they bragged to the SAE and IIHS took far less human workers in a streamlined system that allows for them to place a smaller pack in the car.

                    Do you still think i3 is worth $44,000 to $57,000 U.S. ?

                    1. L'amata says:

                      Model 3 is a Bargain! Worth every cent of that & More* ….It’s a real car with the highest safety ratings of ALL ..Please, Don’t write me another short story . BMW i3 is a Joke to me . It’s only my opinion & the facts all add Up…I LOVE MODEL 3 . cheers!

        2. Dan says:

          what happens when your car hits a truck? Momentum is conserved. Small car rebounds.

        3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “…two cars colliding head on each at 35mph is the same as if one car would hit a stationary object at 35mph:”

          Hmmm, it very much depends on what that stationary object is. If it’s as solid and immovable as the proverbial brick wall, then yes. But if it gives on impact, especially if it gives as much as those barrels filled with water or sand which they put in front of some barriers on the highways, then it is most definitely not as bad as a head-on collision with another car of the same weight.

        4. Mark says:

          That video is incorrect. 1st eliminating crumble zones, if an object is travelling at 40mph and collides with a stationary object it does not experience the same forces as if it collides with an object travelling at any speed. The forces will be different. Now with that said, here is the wording of the IIHS:
          The forces in the test are SIMILAR to those that would result from a frontal offset crash between two vehicles of the same weight, each going just under 40 mph.
          the achieve that by crashing into a more solid object without a crumble zone. The man on that video does not understand the law he quoted.

        5. Martin Winlow says:

          I feel sure that this is complete nonsense as you have *4 times* the kinetic energy to deal with (KE = 1/2mV^2 –!

      3. John says:

        Sooo…you’re saying I should be dead? Twice?
        Better go check my pulse!

      4. Hauer says:

        Wrong, there are TWO crumple zones (?) involved. And those crashes happen all the times with most people surviving.

        1. Bar says:

          Yes, but in a “perfect” head-on collision, each crumple zone “cancels out” the other, and it is as if each car hit a stationary barrier.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            I take it that science is not your forte.

            A crumple zone is always going to improve the odds of surviving a head-on collision, or even escaping without serious injury.

            And according to a 1993 study, to reach a 50% fatality rate for the driver, you had to be going about 60 MPH; somewhat lower speed (or higher fatality rate) for the front-seat passenger. According to the same study (graph below), a collision at 35 MPH has less than a 10% fatality rate.

            I rather suspect things have improved since 1993, since all new first-world cars now have air bags.


            1. Dan says:

              Impact speed. Not vehicle speed. If you’re in a small car that is traveling at 35mph and gets hit head-on by a train going 35 mph, the train’s velocity barely changes while your car’s (and your brains’) velocity goes from +35mph to -35mph nearly instantaneously. That is similar to hitting a stationary barrier at 70mph. Nothing gets “cancelled out”. We have plenty of vehicles on the road that way many multiples what the average car weighs. You cannot assume that the resulting combined system will end up stationary.

            2. Ambulator says:

              While there is no such thing as a completely solid wall, because everything has some give, hitting a reinforced concrete wall is very, very close. This makes hitting such wall very, very close to hitting an oncoming car at the same speed.

              In a perfect head on collision you could put a mirror in between and it wouldn’t be damaged.

      5. Asak says:

        In this day and age you shouldn’t die from a 35 mph crash. That’s just ridiculous.

        1. Hauer says:

          You will NOT die.

          Just use that belt!

      6. theBrandler says:

        Uhm, no, hitting a stationary barrier at 35mph is the same as hitting another car head on with both of you going at 35mph. Your momentums cancel and it’s the same energy as hitting a stationary wall – hence the test.

    2. Devin Serpa says:

      Darwin Awards.

    3. Rhaman68 says:

      Sadly a very high percentage of death/ injured in car crashes dis not wear seat belts. Worse many cause crashes because they refuse to stop at STOP signs and red lights. All ages, religions, ethinic groups, sex or country of origin. The mythical “I do not plan to have an accident today” basis is used. On Dad strapped his son to his Hummer; he did not. Around a road bend a car was stalled after hitting a deer. The Hummer Dad veered off road, overturned killing him. The son did not have a scratch. This story repeats itself by the hour in the US. I hope BMW has a quick solution for the i3.

  2. G2 says:

    Sounds like they need to re-jig their steering wheel airbag ‘chop chop’. Good on BMV for taking action though.

  3. iwatson says:

    although I agree with you that people should buckle up, because it’s what’s best for them….Keeps them safe, protects their life, I have never been in favor of seat belt laws. I think if people want to take on the risk, that should be up to them. If I choose to ride a motorcycle, I don’t have to wear a seatbelt, and a motorcycle rider accepts that risk when they choose to ride one. In many states Motorcycle riders are not even required to wear a helmet. It’s safer if they do…but they have the Liberty to choose not to. In those same states, those that ride in a car (a much safer vehicle) don’t have the same Liberty to choose a behavior that is considered unsafe. Don’t get me wrong, I wear my seatbelt, I just don’t think people should be required to. If I’ve been educated regarding safe practices, then If I choose to be unsafe that should be my business and I should accept all the risk that goes with my choice. This should be an easy fix. All that is needed is a warning sticker that says “Driver’s who fail to wear their seatbelt put themselves at an increased risk of death or serious injury when operating this vehicle”.

    I just this to be utterly absurd. Can’t sell a car because some people refuse to wear their seatbelt.

    1. K L says:

      it’s because people who don’t like wearing seatbelts, also don’t usually want to buy health insurance, and are young or strong enough to survive the car accident that leaves them crippled, but not dead. Not only did you and I have to pay for their hospital care while they recovered, but also their long-term disability benefits, since they probably can’t work anymore.

      If there was a way to ensure they died after stupid decisions like not wearing a seatbelt, then many laws wouldn’t be necessary.

    2. G2 says:

      @iwatson. The seat belt not only keeps you alive it also keeps you in your seat so you can retain control of your car in a high G corner, which is why they became mandatory in the first place. To hell with Liberty if one person’s Liberty causes them to lose control of their vehicle and kills someone else.

      1. iwatson says:

        Let me go back to my motorcycle argument for a moment. The rider of a motorcycle can lose control, as a matter of fact, it’s a lot easier to lose control on two wheels than four. So he or she loses control is thrown off and then the 400 pound machine flips end over end until it flies through the windshield of an approaching car and kills the occupants. So with your line of thinking, You’d say “to hell with someone’s liberty to ride a motorcycle, lets just ban them….hey let’s not stop there, lets just ban people from driving altogether”. The problem with this line of thinking is that it’s a slippery slope that has no end. Would you simply continue to ban every unsafe activity until people are required to lay motionless for their entire life in a concrete bunker?

    3. Dan Hue says:

      The choice of wearing a seat belt is far more than strictly personal. It can affect others, like third parties involved in an accident (some of whom may be responsible and having to reckon with much greater consequences), or the medics and firefighters who have to pick up the pieces. Not to mention other drivers (higher premiums) or tax payers (footing the bill for the uninsured).

    4. Chris says:

      iwatson – what the xxx does “liberty” have to do with wearing a friggin seatbelt? LMFAO

      It’s like saying a moron should have the liberty to decide to kill without a law in place to discourage him or her. Respectfully, what planet do you reside on sir?

      1. iwatson says:

        Chris, Your Liberty has been infringed upon. You currently don’t have the liberty to buy a BMW i3….for a silly reason. Someone was warned to wear their seatbelt…decided not to (even though it’s the law) and now you can’t buy this car because someone chose to do something stupid. In a few years you may not be able to buy any car that you’ll be allowed to drive, because people can’t be trusted to be responsible and can’t be held accountable when they’re not. Yes, Chris there are people who chose to kill. Many smokers end up killing themselves with their nasty habit. I’m not a smoker and I don’t like people blowing smoke in my face. But I don’t like to tell people they can’t make stupid choices or call them Morons because they don’t think like I do. Because I don’t like it when people stick their nose in my business. Chris, that’s what it has to do with Liberty.

  4. Jsmay311 says:

    That’s crazy.

    Who knew car makers were required to design cars to minimize injuries for a tiny minority of the population *when not wearing seatbelts*.

    1. Tom says:

      It’s pretty stupid yes, but not unprecedented. Chrysler had to recall millions of minivans years ago because there some kids that got killed when their van got t-boned at high speed and the rear hatch popped open. In several instances either the kids weren’t buckled or the parents had taken out the rear seat and were letting the kids use the back end of the van as a play area…obviously not buckled. When the rear hatch popped open they flew out. Millions and millions of dollars to put different latches in because of that idiocy. Chrysler’s argument was their vans tested better than all of their competitors.

      1. James says:

        In defense of those families sadly effected by those tragedies, 41 people were killed by those faulty latches, most were children. Not the few kids you note.

        Also your post is wrong in that in many of those incidents the ENTIRE REMOVABLE SEAT WAS EJECTED OUT THE BACK OF THE VANS with kids attached by belts. You said this was the result of “t-bone” accidents, which is also wrong. A t-bone is a side impact, most of these deaths were the result of the vans being struck from behind.

        You link one 1995 article from the LA Times which does not support your conclusions.

        I remember watching a TV documentary covering these Chrysler deaths. It sparked my memory and a 1 minute web search proved my memory correct. The 1985-1995 Chrysler minivan scandal should have cost Chrysler much more than it did. NHTSA let them off the hook in a conservative administration’s attempt to cost cut the investigative process.

  5. Four Electrics says:

    Sounds like I won’t be picking up another i3 this year. Unfortunate.

    1. says:

      So until recently you were a X driver, now a i3 driver…i bet you never had any of them and are just bsing as usual.

      1. ffbj says:

        I think he has one of each. A two car ev family.

        1. says:

          My money is on “none”

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            So is mine.

            This is the guy who used to post as “Three Electrics”, serially posting FUD about Tesla and its cars for months or years, then claimed to have bought a Tesla Model X and changed his screen name to “Four Electrics”… and kept right on posting Tesla hater FUD.

            So, was he lying when he kept saying how terrible he thought Tesla’s cars are, or is he lying about having bought one? Neither possibility encourages one to believe what he posts!

    2. philip d says:

      Do you drive one or plan on driving one without a seatbelt?

      If so you are an idiot. There is no car out there that you can buy that you could except not to have head or neck injuries from a 35 mph or higher head on collision while not wearing your seatbelt.

      But of course you know this. You are here to comment on every EV article in some nefative way.

      1. Asak says:

        I think you’re missing the fact that apparently sales have been halted. I took his post as being more of an observation based on that. It’s hard to buy a car that’s not being sold.

    3. Nix says:

      Are you 5 foot tall and 110 lbs, and don’t wear seatbelts?

      1. Rich says:

        He might be referring to the stop sale order and not being able to purchase one.

        Agreed, this news wouldn’t stop me from buying an i3 if they were selling them.

      2. Chris says:

        Of course the size of the person at risk suggests the law was created to save young adolescent lives, those who would be careless to take mum or dad’s i3 without wearing a seatbelt and go for a joyride with friends. Usually drunk. Usually ending in disaster.

  6. WARREN says:

    Wow, I can’t imagine those crash dummy videos without seat belts being worn. Maybe they won’t hurt their necks in some car’s while they fly through the windshield?

    Such a bummer Tom. Was really looking forward to your i3s review. Bet it is going to be a blast to drive. Are you getting the rex?

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      No, going BEV this time. The extra 40 miles of range, plus the proliferation of DC Fast charge stations in the area really remove the need for me to get the range extender.

      In my other i3, I drove 72,000 miles and only needed the REx for about 4,000 miles the extra range will really eliminate the need for me.

      1. wavelet says:

        (Tom, excellently written article, as always!)
        Bummer about the delay (hopefully not worse) in getting you i3s.
        I recall reading about your “To REx or not to REx” debate when ordering the car nearly 4 years ago,
        Interesting that you eventually only needed the REx for 4K miles out of 72K — or about 5% of your mileage, just like you estimated.

        1. Tom Moloughney says:

          I had been driving ~100 mile EVs for 4 years before getting my i3, so I knew what my driving profile looked like already. I really didn’t want to get a REx, but I needed to because the i3’s ~80 mile range just wasn’t enough. The 33 kWh battery the car has now , is just enough for me to go BEV! 🙂

          1. James says:

            Hi, Tom.

            Can I ask how many ICE are you still own?

            1. I have a Toyota Tacoma that I use to plow my property. I always had a pick up for hauling stuff for the business. Then, when my i3 was totaled, my father in law gave us his 1986 Mazda RX-7 that he had in storage for about 15 years and I’ve been driving that around a bit. I now have a 2017 i3 loaner to hold me over until my i3s is released. So I own 1 gas vehicle. I always will until I can replace the Tacoma with an electric pick up.

              1. James says:

                Nice to hear you got rid of all those ICEmobiles!

                i3 is a commuter car though, as is Bolt EV and most other EVs without a reliable, omnipresent charging infrastructure.

                Tesla is closest to solving this issue – but it’ll still be years out before having an ICE backup car is not a good idea.

                I know BMW touts a rental car program, but that is onerous and inefficient for most. I have to give you credit, you walk the walk and talk the talk.

                It still isn’t without complexities to go all EV in a household. Especially with an i3 that has 100 or so miles of range ( 50 out and 50 back ) in cold months and maybe 70 in summer.

    2. Hauer says:

      The i3 is not a blast to drive.
      Come back from test drive, my disappointment showed (based on price of the car) then salesguy told me it had at least 300 km of real range.

  7. msrural says:

    “5th percentile female”

    Is gender actually part of the equation? Yes, on average, they tend to be shorter and lighter than men. But certainly there must be men who come in below the stated measurements.

    1. ml says:

      I googled it, and found it to be an industry term related to ergonomics. I found many references of designing for 5th percentile female through 95th percentile male. The 5th percentile female equivalent for a man would be something like .007 percentile. Sucks than I’m over the 95th percentile male measurements. No wonder it’s difficult to find cars I fit in.

      1. Asak says:

        Yeah, I’m 99th percentile height male. It has some negatives. I actually feel for those who are even taller, you run into enough hassles at 6’4″.

  8. jm says:

    Sorry to hear about the untimely demise of your first i3. It says volumes that you jumped right in and ordered another. Too bad this was forced before the 44 kWh version arrives. Looking forward to your reports on the i3S

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      Don’t rub it in. I think the 44 kWh pack is only about 10 – 11 months away, so I would have loved to be able to wait, but…

      1. Warren says:

        I would assume you are getting Melbourne Red?, Are you the reason they came out with that color? LOL. Even though I just got a 2017 irex, my next car will the a i3s BEV. I want the strongest acceleration numbers possible, so lighter the better. And though I too thought about the bigger battery coming next year, I am hoping there won’t be another 170lb penalty by going higher capacity. Otherwise I would rather have the configuration you are getting. That is unless they upped the HP some more with the next capacity increase. Which would be smart if they did. The eGolf, LEAF, etc, all got more HP with their larger battery capacity improvements.

        The i3 is a very safe car. When I got rear ended by a Cadillac, the firemen looked at the other car and couldn’t believe how well the BMW held up.

        1. Tom Moloughney says:

          Hi Warren. I’m actually getting it in Black. I had a red i3 for 3+ years, so it’s time for a change. I’ve been told that BMW product managers used pictures of my i3 to influence the decision to add red to the list of available colors.

          1. Get Real says:


            You are just trying to curry favor with Jay!

            1. Jay Cole says:

              All people who write at IEV are mandated to own at least 1 black plug-in vehicle.

              …its a credibility thing

            2. James says:

              I recently had a conversation with a nice lady who driving a newer i3, black with the Sport wheels.

              We both agreed that the black was the nicest color for the car as it covers up the awkward 2 tone features of the car, especially hood and rear, but also reduces the ugly factor of that odd rear quarter window notch.

              Tom cleverly reduced that too with a black detail under the side window of his red wrap job.

              I noted she agreed with me that the i3 suicide doors were a pain, and that the front trunk was basically useless ( Not waterproof and tiny )

              1. James says:

                *I also noted that her husband worked for BMW and this was their second i3.

                Perk for working with the company. It’s an uber-expensive alternative to cars for less money that are either here already or soon to come into the market.

                Ioniq EV, LEAF 2 and Bolt EV jump to mind. Even the Golf EV is a better buy in my opinion.

  9. vdiv says:

    This is not good. I hope they can resolve this quickly. Too many EV models have been delayed.

  10. Vexar says:

    Hey, on the bright side, no mention of Takata air bags, at least! I am mystified by the overall concern here. Did they decorate the dash with razor blades or something? I would feel much, much safer in an i3 than a GM electric. Something about that carbon fiber cage says “survivor.”

    1. James says:

      Not carbon fiber – it’s CFRP = a plastic sandwich with one sheet of carbon fiber glued in the middle.

      Big difference.

      I wish people would stop bantying around the “made of carbon fiber” so loosely.

      “Made of carbon fiber means …MADE of CARBON FIBER”…you know?

      It’s up to NHTSA and IIHS to crash test and safety rate new cars. Their assessments are generally reliable with a few hiccups now and again ( cough, cough “Volt catches on fire!”, cough cough )…

      It’s not comforting that the i3 has not been tested by NHTSA at all –

      It has been tested by IIHS and wasn’t impressive – failing in seats that would be prone to some neck injuries.

      All in – These are just more reasons I usually pop in my two cents worth when people start lauding the i3.

      I mean – It’s expensive. It’s not super practical. It has some goofy and rather iffy features like the suicide doors and front trunk that isn’t weather sealed.

      All in, I don’t really know why people buy them when other options exist that outshine it in every area.

      i3 seems to be selling pretty well in Europe compared to it’s rivals. Brand loyalty and nationalism surely play their parts. Here in America – I think it’s mostly folks who are sold on BMW, pretty much.

  11. ffbj says:

    Must be pretty serious to stop sales. I wonder if it’s steering wheel related, due to the height and weight issue.
    Do you have to be female, or just small? Is it just the statistics that most men are bigger, that they’re using?

    I don’t think it’s something they can fix on a whim. May take some engineering.

  12. Hauer says:


    Not to defend BMW.

    But unbelted drivesr expose themselves to evolutionäry processes.

    In Austria we have fines for driving without belt since 1983.
    And if you do not buckle in your kid e times you lose your driving licence.

  13. joe smith says:

    Wait a minute, that profile fits a lot of asian women which *isn’t* a minority; espcially in Hawaii where there are tons of EVs.

  14. Nix says:

    As far as safety issues go, this one seems like it is pretty easy for car owners to solve. Just wear the seat belt if you are concerned about your safety. Fixed.

    If you aren’t concerned enough about your safety to wear a seatbelt, then it would be hypocritical to make a big deal out of this recall, as if BMW were the ones putting your life at risk. They aren’t, you are. By not wearing a seatbelt.

    I don’t see this as a big deal. They will fix it, and meanwhile BMW i3 owners who actually care about their own safety will buckle up and not be affected. Hopefully the stop sale won’t last too long.

    1. Djoni says:

      So easy to fix, you’re right.

      Just make selecting gear if the belt aren’t buckle.
      If you don’t want to, the car don’t move.

      If you wish to drive without a seatbelt, you buy another car.

      Life is simple, I don’t know why any dumb a.. would want to change that.

  15. Nix says:

    The Moloughney Red 2018 i3 Sport definitely looks nice! The blue and the all black colors are sweet too. The initial paint choices in the US when it first came to market were underwhelming.

  16. Marsha G says:

    This does’t seem to be a new regulation. did BMW just admit they didn’t do crash testing until recently?

    1. Ben says:

      One test is never like another done before. There is always a lot of statistics and randomness going on even if all is setup perfecty. No part, no car, no dummy (and its position), no sensor, no setup is exactly like the other. It might be that the test was passed a few times before but failed marginally this time.

      1. Larry says:

        Beat my observation by minutes. Must be a great minds thing!

    2. Larry says:

      I can’t imagine that these one-off tests always get the same results – especially if this a marginal failure.

  17. Devin Serpa says:

    So, wear your seat belt. Problem solved.

    1. James says:

      Or add it to your Thomas Jefferson list when considering spending $44,000 – $57,000 pricetag.

      A glance through TrueCar shows resale value is horrible.

      What I like about i3: It’s electric

      That’s about it – folks. It has an interesting interior with lots of clever lightweighting – but it reminds me of Scandinavian furniture. You pay a ton for minimalism – not a whole lot there!

      It’s not fast. It’s not “sporty”. It’s been proven to be out lapped by a $14,000 econobox in Autocar, and not by a smidge – by 8 seconds around a road course!

      Guys – I just can’t warm up to the i3.

      But please – wear your seat belts.

      1. frankyb says:

        James: “Guys – I just can’t warm up to the i3.”

        Really? After 3 years of trolling i3 post? Who would have though James doesn’t like the i3.

        Still doesn’t own your own EV James?

        1. James says:

          Is a Volt an EV?

          Or are you an EV purist?

          I like when BMW fans label me a troll. You’re the only ones.

          I keep saying I like i3 because it’s an EV, but that is the only reason I like it. I just point out BMW fan’s misconceptions ( like “it’s made of carbon fiber”, and “It’s sportier than many ICE cars” and “It’s the Ultimate Driving Machine”) all things it is not.

          It’s expensive and the reasonings that it’s worth it are not very defendable.

          Like I said, I like any electric car better than any ICE.

          I prefer my Volt right now as charging infrastructure is currently spotty and unreliable.

          I’m shopping a lease on a Bolt EV, however. Like i3, it’s no sports car, but it does have quite a bit more range for less money.

  18. ClarksonCote says:

    “Personally, I find it hard to understand why anyone wouldn’t use their seat belt. It’s such a simple act to buckle up, they aren’t uncomfortable to wear, and it literally can save your life.”

    I had a friend who lived specifically because he was not wearing his seatbelt. While rare, wearing a seatbelt can sometimes be worse than not wearing it. Yes, statistically it saves many more lives than it would doom, but that’s why NH let’s adults make their own choice.

    Right or wrong, that’s the reason. Some people can die as a result of wearing a seatbelt even if it is a tiny tiny fraction of all the people saved by wearing one.

    I can appreciate why some people would like that decision left up to them instead of a mandate from the government.

    1. Djoni says:

      Somme people can die reading insideev, don’t they?

      OK, nothing is going to enforce them to do so either.

      I would be nice if some weren’t allowed to comment in forever* negative way, but I digress…

      *Not you Clarkson

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      While in general I’m all in favor of demanding people be responsible for their own actions, and hate “Nanny State” laws, I’m also old enough to remember what it was like before seat belt laws. Most people deluded themselves into thinking they didn’t need to wear a seat belt by using the very argument you present here: That there are cases where it is claimed that not wearing a seat belt lead to survival in an accident… altho often or perhaps usually absent in such cases was any actual proof or even evidence that the person would actually have died if they had been wearing the seat belt.

      This often was a result of someone who was thrown clear and — against long odds — managed to survive despite serious injuries, looking at the wreck after they finally got out of the hospital and saying “Thank goodness I was thrown clear!”

      Such a person generally doesn’t understand that modern cars are designed so that the front and, to some extent, the rear end collapse or “crumple” in order to protect the passenger compartment.

      After seat belt laws became commonplace, most people quit lying to themselves and just started doing the sensible thing, which is always buckling up.

      So that’s why I’m in favor of such laws, despite the fact that in general I’m strongly opposed to “Nanny State” laws.

  19. Bob says:

    Let’s see, how many drivers will fit this category? How many of those drivers will choose not to wear their seatbelt (contrary to all state and provincial laws) now that leaves us .000378. % of the population that “might” suffer a more serious neck injury. Sounds like BMW is sabotaging themselves with this kind of nonsense. Health and Safety ‘gone wild’.

  20. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “…it is known how the current i3 owners can prevent having any issue: Just wear your seat belt.”


    Sorry if I appear callous, but there is absolutely no good reason for anyone to refuse to wear a seat belt while riding in a car. There are only bad reasons.

    Think of it as evolution in action.

  21. Mark Stevens says:

    I’m glad you’re OK. It lifts my spirits to see i3’s on the road. Like the Volt they usually have two tones. I don’t understand why more car companies don’t do that.

  22. Phaedrus says:

    To put things in perspective, according to a scientific study, about 30 times more people die from correctly prescribed medical drugs then from car accidents. So big pharma drugs are far more dangerous to humans than cars.

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