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BMW Recalls 26,900 Plug-In Hybrids Over Risk of Battery Fire

BMW is issuing a recall on pretty much every plug-in hybrid model it produced in 2020 over batteries that could catch fire. 

According to Automotive News, the worldwide tally comes in at 26,900 cars, the majority of which are reportedly located in Europe and have not yet been delivered to customers. According to the NHTSA recall report, 4,509 are located in the U.S. and that consists of every plug-in model the company sells here, Mini Countryman included. Here’s the full list of affected U.S.-market Bimmers and the total number of examples involved from most to least affected:

  • 2020-2021 BMW X3 xDrive30e: 2,441
  • 2021 BMW X5 xDrive 45e: 1,228
  • 2021 BMW 330e: 664
  • 2020-2021 BMW 530e: 132
  • 2020-2021 Mini Cooper Countryman All4 SE: 33
  • 2020 BMW i8: 8
  • 2021 BMW 745Le xDrive: 3

While BMW is not aware of any accidents or injuries, the company did disclose that it was aware of four “field incidents,” the first of which involved a 2021 X5 having a “thermal event.” 

“The high voltage battery may not have been produced according to specifications,” BMW explained in a statement. “During battery cell production at the supplier, debris may have been able to enter one or more battery cells. As a result, this could lead to short-circuit. In rare cases, the short-circuit could lead to a thermal event which could increase the risk of an injury.”

The battery supplier in question is confirmed to be Samsung, the same company that had to recall its own Galaxy Note 7 smartphone over fiery, short-circuiting batteries back in 2016. 

The NHTSA document also states that a remedy for the short-circuiting BMW batteries is still being worked out and that until one is available, owners should not charge their cars. Nor should they, for some reason, drive in manual mode, sport mode, or use the shift paddles.

Owner notification letters are planned to start going out in late November, at which time owners will be advised to either schedule a repair appointment with their local dealership or, in the event that the fix is not available yet, sit tight and await further instructions.

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