BMW issues global recall for 26,700 PHEVs – defective high-voltage battery may cause fires; M’sia unaffected

  • Friday 16th October 2020

BMW’s recall exercise involving nearly 4,500 of its plug-in hybrid cars, first announced back in August, has now grown to involve roughly 26,700 vehicles globally. The issue remains the same – that a potential short circuit of the high voltage battery pack would lead to a fire, AutoExpress reports.

The list of affected vehicles include the F48 X1, F39 X2, G01 X3, and G05 X5 SUVs, as well as the F45 2 Series Active Tourer, G20 3 Series, G21 3 Series Touring, G30 5 Series, G31 5 Series Touring, and G11/G12 7 Series. Several units of the BMW i8 and F60 MINI Countryman are also affected.

According to BMW engineers, some discrepancies have been identified during the manufacturing process of its battery packs. The issue is that foreign contaminants (likely remnants of the welding beads, which are conductive) may have found its way into the batteries during the assembly stage, consequently causing the short circuit and the ensuing blaze. These lithium-ion batteries were supplied by Northvolt, a Swedish battery developer and manufacturer that specialises in lithium-ion technology for EVs.

A BMW spokesperson said: “When the battery is fully charged, this could lead to a short circuit within the battery cells, which may lead to a fire. Around 26,700 vehicles are affected worldwide, some of which are already with customers – with the remainder awaiting delivery. BMW apologises for the inconvenience caused to customers, but of course safety must come first.”

Meanwhile, BMW Group Malaysia told us that the CKD plug-in hybrid cars sold here are not affected by the recall. A company representative said the batteries in the locally assembled PHEVs were produced in a different batch, so owners are free from any fire hazards.

BMW isn’t the only automaker plagued by battery woes. Just a few days ago, Hyundai also issued a recall for the Kona Electric in South Korea over a potential fire risk, after one unit caught fire in an underground car park in the city of Daegu. There have been 16 similar incidences reported globally. However, based on internal reenactments, battery supplier LG Chem said the main cause of the fires were not caused by its batteries. Further investigations are currently underway.

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