A BMW i3 owner is suing the German brand over a claim that the range-extended i3 can suddenly lose power when the small gasoline-powered engine kicks in.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for i3 drivers across the country and is looking to force BMW to buy back the vehicles.
According to the plaintiff in the case, the i3’s speed can drop significantly when the small 34-horsepower, two-cylinder engine comes on to keep the i3 driving after the battery charge has worn out. The range extender is sold to boost range up to 150 miles from 81 miles, which means that about 60 miles of the car’s total range is looked after by the small engine.
The loss of speed typically happens under heavy loads, such as driving up hills or when the car is filled with passengers, alleges the plaintiff in the case.
A search of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s database pulled up four complaints alleging the same thing. One complaint says that the i3 dropped from 75 mph to 35 mph on the highway when the range extender kicked in, forcing the driver to pull over on the shoulder. In all cases, there was no warning light or fault that alerted the driver to the coming power loss.
“Having a sudden and unexpected loss of power in a motor vehicle can result in a catastrophic situation,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Jonathan Michaels, in a statement on Wednesday. “These cars are dangerous and should not be driven.”
[Source: Automotive News]
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