BMW named in class action lawsuit over representations regarding i3 all electric hybrid

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In 2014, BMW’s highly anticipated i Series line of electric and electric-hybrid vehicles were introduced to the market for sale to the public in certain states. These vehicles include the BMW i8 electric plug-in hybrid and the BMW i3 all-electric hybrid.

The i3 is offered with an additional feature called a Range Extender – a gasoline-powered, two-cylinder combustion engine with a small fuel tank that engages when the i3 electric battery level drops to a certain level. The Range Extender supposedly allows the vehicle to operate for many miles (double the mileage, according to BMW) after the electric battery in the i3 loses power and is a large selling point for BMW to prospective owners and lessees of the i3.

BMW’s i3 vehicles were widely touted by BMW as being ideal for everyday use. The class action complaint alleges that actual performance of the i3 REx, however, is far from ideal. Unfortunately for consumers like Plaintiff, model years 2014-2016 BMW i3 Rex vehicles suffer from a serious defect that manifests when the Class Vehicles transition from running on the electric battery to the fuel-powered Range Extender.

Specifically, within minutes after this transition occurs, Class Vehicles experience a drastic loss of power and reduction in speed, referred to as “limp mode,” creating a serious safety risk for owners and lessees of Class Vehicles, as well as other drivers on the roads.

As alleged, BMW also fails to inform prospective owners and lessees of the i3 REx that the vehicle is plagued with this defect and that owners and lessees of the Class Vehicles will inevitably experience a significant power loss or deceleration in certain driving scenarios, including under conditions where the defect can pose a significant threat to safety.

Despite several complaints by consumers about this issue, BMW has done nothing to satisfactorily remedy the defect. The only action BMW appears to have taken is to provide a software update that results in a five-word electronic warning on Class Vehicle dashboards when the vehicle’s electric battery level is low that states “Low Batter: Power reduction possible.” This response is woefully inadequate and clearly does nothing to eliminate the clear safety concerns created by the deceleration defect in Class Vehicles, nor does it fix the actual declaration problem itself.

Plaintiff brings this class action lawsuit on behalf of a class of similarly situated consumers who have purchased or leased one or more of the Class Vehicles.

Class Action Complaint