BMW i3 REx Info - Real-World Range & Reduced Power Mode Operation

BMW i3 REx Info - Real-World Range & Reduced Power Mode Operation

The i3, with Hold Mode engaged, a coded feature that's not available on a stock U.S. BMW i3 REx

The i3, with Hold Mode engaged, a coded feature that's not available on a stock U.S. BMW i3 REx

BMW has been hit with a class action lawsuit for the i3 REx's reduced power operation, which is deemed as "unsafe," according to the lawsuit.

Though BMW has stated that when the battery becomes depleted beyond a certain point (1.9% battery charge - see BMW's graphic above) restricted power and reduced speeds may be experienced. The suit alleges that the automaker didn't properly inform i3 REx buyers of this scenario and further says that it's simply unsafe to sell a car in the U.S. that may experience such a rapid speed drop off.

Here's an excerpt from the press release on the class action suit against BMW:

"The lawsuit centers around the BMW i3 "Range Extender" feature. This option, called REx, outfits the vehicle with a two-cylinder gasoline engine producing 34 horsepower that switches on when the battery charge depletes to five percent, giving the vehicle another 70 miles of range. BMW claims that the Range Extender "doubles your electric driving range" from the vehicle's standard 81-mile range."

"The lawsuit alleges that in practice, however, when the gasoline engine kicks in, it doesn't produce enough power to prevent a dramatic decrease in the vehicle's performance. As alleged, if the car is under any kind of significant load (such as going up a hill, or loaded with passengers), the speed of the car will dramatically decrease as the battery charge diminishes. The lawsuit alleges that this can result in the car slowing to speeds of 45 miles per hour on the freeway, without warning."

Those who know how the i3 REx operates are aware of this potential for reduced power. In fact, lots of i3 REx owners in the U.S. have coded their cars to overcome this reduced power scenario by upping battery charge at which REx comes on. However, this is not how the i3 REx is setup from the factory for U.S. buyers (it is setup to function differently overseas though, so reduced power operation is unlikely to be a problem outside of the U.S. and Canada.)

The suit is seeking BMW to redesign and/or repair the faulty REx vehicles at the automaker's expense:

"The lawsuit seeks to have the vehicles redesigned and repaired at BMW's expense, and to halt the sale of all i3 vehicles until repairs can be made. The claim also seeks compensation for all the owners of the vehicles, who were not told of the serious safety defect."

Full press release below:

BMW Sued In National Class Action Over Faulty Electric Vehicles

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., May 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- MLG Automotive Law has filed a national class action lawsuit against BMW North America, LLC for alleged defects in the BMW i3 vehicles. The case Edo Tsoar v. BMW North America, LLC (Case No. 2:16-cv-03386) was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The lawsuit centers around the BMW i3 "Range Extender" feature. This option, called REx, outfits the vehicle with a two-cylinder gasoline engine producing 34 horsepower that switches on when the battery charge depletes to five percent, giving the vehicle another 70 miles of range. BMW claims that the Range Extender "doubles your electric driving range" from the vehicle's standard 81-mile range.

The lawsuit alleges that in practice, however, when the gasoline engine kicks in, it doesn't produce enough power to prevent a dramatic decrease in the vehicle's performance. As alleged, if the car is under any kind of significant load (such as going up a hill, or loaded with passengers), the speed of the car will dramatically decrease as the battery charge diminishes. The lawsuit alleges that this can result in the car slowing to speeds of 45 miles per hour on the freeway, without warning.

"The BMW i3 Range Extender feature is a dangerous instrumentality to the owners of the vehicles and to other motorists on the road," said Jonathan Michaels, founding member of MLG Automotive Law. "Having a sudden and unexpected loss of power in a motor vehicle can result in a catastrophic situation for all those on the road. These cars are dangerous and should not be driven."

The lawsuit seeks to have the vehicles redesigned and repaired at BMW's expense, and to halt the sale of all i3 vehicles until repairs can be made. The claim also seeks compensation for all the owners of the vehicles, who were not told of the serious safety defect.

Hat tip to George K!